Rick Porcello is still 19 years old and hasn’t pitched an inning in the minor leagues, but the Tigers have decided to skip Porcello over low Class A West Michigan and start him in high Class A Lakeland.
The Tigers drafted Porcello, who fell in the draft due to his contract demands, with the 27th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J), then signed him to a $7 million deal that included a club-record $3.58 million signing bonus and a major league contract.
Aside from Porcello’s combination of talent and polish, one of the other considerations that Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski noted was part of the decision was the favorable weather that Lakeland offers. The average annual temperature in Lakeland, Fla. in April is 73 degrees; the average temperature in Comstock Park, Mich. in April drops down to a cool 46 degrees.
Porcello is the team’s top prospect and the No. 21 overall prospect in baseball.