Porcello's work this spring has given the Tigers an embarrassment of riches in the pitching department. Through four spring starts, he as posted an impressive 2.08 ERA, allowing just three runs in 13 innings of work. More impressively, Porcello has not issued a walk and has 14 strikeouts over that span.
Porcello seems like a different pitcher this spring. An adjustment to his breaking ball has fueled the improved numbers. Scrapping his slider for a curve ball this spring has paved the way for what will hopefully be the next step in his big league career. But why the change?
"The last couple of years, the breaking ball has been inconsistent," he said. "This spring I wanted to work on one breaking ball so I can have more conviction throwing it."
Despite winning 10 or more games in each of his first four major league seasons, Porcello knows there is more that he can offer and he intends to make good on that potential this season.
"I definitely feel I have more in me than I displayed last year," he said. "I need to be pitching deeper into games and I think the second half of last year I struggled with that. This year I feel great and I am ready to go."
While Porcello is only 24 years old, it seems like he has been around much longer. Should we consider him a grizzly veteran at this point in his career? "I don't know, Verlander just turned 30 and he's starting to lose his hair a little bit," he joked.
Smart comments aside, the Tigers have a tremendous cross section of talent in the rotation. Porcello is strengthening his bid to snatch a spot in the starting five with each spring outing. Regardless of whether it's Porcello or Drew Smyly, the staff will be a major strength of the 2013 Tigers.
"I think from top to bottom we have guys that have great stuff and great track records," he said. "Obviously on paper it looks outstanding, but we’ve got to go out there on the field and stay healthy."