Jacob Turner Scouting Report
In a deadline deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers, Jacob Turner was the center piece of Miami Marlins’ return. Turner came into the year as the number one prospect in the Tigers farm system and was ranked as the 19th prospect overall by Bullpen Banter. Turner’s stock has declined where it was last year but he is still a promising pitching prospect.
The Marlins assigned the right-hander to AAA New Orleans where I was able to see him in his third start with the organization as he took on the Tacoma Rainiers. Through 4 games with New Orleans, he has a 2.42 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched with 13 strikeouts and 12 walks.
In the start I saw Turner, he pitched well. His final line on the night was 6IP 8H 0R 2BB and 2K. He allowed 10 base runners but was able to escape trouble throughout night, maintaining the shutout. He totaled 101 pitches, 63 of which were strikes. Of the 63 strikes, 27 were swinging, including foul balls. Removing foul balls from the equation and he had just 7 swinging strikes.
Turner stands 6’5” 210lb with a tall and slightly slender frame. If he fills out a bit more, he’ll have an ideal, durable pitchers frame and could possibly add a few ticks to his fastball. He has long legs that, like his upper body, have room to fill out more. We can expect his body to fill out though being that he is still only 21 years old.
He is a good athlete on the mound with a smooth, effortless delivery that he repeats well. He throws from a 3/4 to low 3/4 arm slot. He does land a bit hard on his front foot which you can see when he turns his foot pretty noticeably. With a softer landing, you won’t see as drastic of a turn on that front foot. If Turner struggled with his command than that landing would be more of a concern but it’s nothing to worry about for him.
Coming out of high school, Turner was projected to be a power pitcher but his fastball doesn’t quite fit that category any more. That does not mean it is not a good pitch though. His fastball sat 90-93 MPH and the max was 93. At the start of the game it was mostly at 92-93 but once he hit about 80 pitches it dropped down to around 90 MPH. The pitch had a good amount of late arm side run and sink and his arm slots really helped this. He commanded the pitch well, pounding the lower half of the strike zone and getting a good amount of ground outs. At times, he tried to nibble a bit too much at the corners and the movement on his fastball would carry it out of the zone for balls. Controlling the pitch a bit better will be important. It was not a swing and miss pitch but was still an above average pitch thanks to the command and movement.
Turner’s secondary pitch he did not disappoint, as I came away impressed with his curve. The pitch sat 77-80 MPH with hard downward movement. It had good shape and late bite and he located the pitch well. He was able to locate it to both halves of the plate to both lefties and righties. I loved seeing him throw it inside to righties when it would start at the batter’s belt and then break to the inner part of the plate for a strike. Not only could he locate it but it was also a swing and miss pitch for him as he could get batters to chase it. He lost a little command of it towards the end of the game and hung it a few times but it was overall, a legit plus pitch.
Turner also features a change-up that he had a good feel for. The pitch sat 83-86 MPH and had good hard drop with some fade. His arm action made the pitch pretty deceptive and he liked to throw it with two strikes on. He commanded the pitch pretty well, working it on both halves of the plate with it. It is an average to slightly above average pitch with the potential to be a good above average offering.
There were a few times on the night where Turner threw a pitch in the upper 80s to low 90s that looked a lot like a cutter. After doing a little research after his start, I found out that Turner started working on a cutter this spring that he’s been using more and more. While he threw it maybe 5 times, it looked like a solid pitch. It had very late hard cutting action. He threw it a few times in on the hands on righties and then in on the hands of lefties. If he can throw this pitch more and get a good feel for it, it could be a very useful pitch for him.
While I was not blown away by Turner, I was not disappointed either. He has a good three pitch mix and could have a legit four pitch mix. One of the biggest concerns with Turner is his lack of strikeouts. I don’t think we’ll ever see Turner post big time strikeout numbers which is in large part thanks to his lack of an over powering fastball. But, Turner should maintain a high ground ball rate throughout his career though and keep the ball in the ballpark. As the game wore on, he lost a few miles on his fastball velocity and his off speed pitches became inconsistent. Thus, tt will be important for Turner to build his stamina and durability which could happen as he fills out. Turner also has to work on not letting counts get too deep. While the control is there, improving his command will really help in keeping the ball totals down and with shortening up at bats.
For being only 21, Turner looked poised and mature on the mound and did not seem to be affected when he got into jams. Turner has the ceiling of a number two starter but I think he’ll most likely be a good number three starter. He has a high floor as a back end of the rotation work horse. Turner could be pitching in the Miami rotation very soon and I think the chances are very good that he’ll be in the Marlins 2012 opening day rotation.
Below is the video that I recorded of Turner.