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What a difference three slots can make

I remember watching the 2007 MLB draft on ESPN. The Yankees had the 30th pick. A New Jersey high-school pitcher (considered the best prep-pitcher in the draft) was still on the board in the mid-20s. Every Yankee fan knew that if Detroit didn't pick him at 27 (for signability issues; he's repped by Scott Boras), he would fall to the Yankees at 30.

Detroit made the smart move and took Rick Porcello. The Yanks settled on a more promising, though less polished collegiate pitcher named Andrew Brackman. While Porcello was seen as the better all-around pitcher (healthier, better repertoire, better mechanics), Brackman had the higher ceiling (fastball that touched the high 90s with an occasionally devastating knuckle-curve to go along with a 6'10" frame: right-handed Randy Johnson potential).

Two years later, 20-year-old Porcello is one of the front-runners for Rookie of the Year while 23-year-old Brackman is struggling to make it through Low-A ball.

Porcello in the American League: 105.1 ip, 4.36 ERA, 115 H, 35 BB, 55 K, 1.35 GB/FB

Brackman in the South Atlantic League: 88.2 ip, 6.70 ERA, 92 H, 66 BB, 85 K, 25 WP

Can Porcello maintain that ERA with such a low K-rate? His FIP is 5.15. Regardless, to do what he's done at the age of 20 is mighty impressive.

Brackman's 66 walks (6.7 BB/9 ip) and 25 wild pitches are terrible; the good news is his solid K-rate (8.6 K/9 ip). And we must remember that he's coming off Tommy John Surgery, and generally the last trait to return is control. His ML ceiling-comp is Randy Johnson, who had 327 walks in 418.1 innings (7 BB/9 ip) moving through Montreal's MiL system, and didn't become a good pitcher until the age of 26, this third year in the Bigs.

So while there's still a ways to go before Brackman becomes a 'bust', Porcello is certainly making the Tigers happy with their choice (and that they had a worse record than the Yanks in 2006. What a joke that is: a team that wins the pennant picks ahead of a team they beat in the LDS?)