The Tigers drafted hard throwing high school right-hander Rick Porcello in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft today. For the first time in years, the Tigers drafted near the bottom of first round (the 27th pick) so it was very difficult to project who they would draft. As the draft moved along, it became apparent that teams were reluectant to draft Porcello because of signability issues. Porcello was regarded by many as the top high school pitcher in the draft and Baseball America had him ranked as the 4th best player in the draft at any position. His agent is Scott Boras so that explains why he dropped so far. This was the third straight year that an elite prospect fell to the Tigers. In the last two years, they grabbed Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller.
Porcello currently pitches for Seton Hall Prep in West Orange New Jersey, the top ranked high school team in the country. Baseball America's scouting reports are premium content but I'll give you a summary. He has a fastball in the mid 90s and has reached as high as 98 MPH. He also has a curve, slider and change-up. He is tall and lanky at 6-5 and 190 but will probably fill out over time. He has been compared to Josh Beckett but those kinds of comparisons are always premature especially for a high school player. High school pitchers have proven to be the riskiest of draft picks and are very hard to project. However, when you get a chance to draft a talent like this at pick 27, it's a good risk to take. The next step is to get him signed by August 15th, the new signing deadline starting this year.
For a detailed discussion of Porcello and the rest of the draft picks, check out the annual MotownSports.com draft thread