While I seriously doubt that anyone is terribly surprised, both Andrew Oliver and Jacob Turner have put up solid numbers so far this season. With two starts each under their belt, both have essentially picked up right where they left off last season. I understand that it is an extremely small sample size of data. Regardless, both Oliver and Turner have started things off on the right foot this season.
In Turner’s first start of the season he tossed six innings of scoreless ball. He allowed just three base-runners and struck-out nine. Last night Turner logged another quality start, surrendering three runs in seven innings of work. The amount of base-runners jumped a bit, as he scattered seven hits and walked one. Regardless, the results are still very encouraging. After two starts and 13 innings of work Turner currently sports a 2.08 ERA. He’s holding the opposition to a .188 batting average and he’s racked up 13 strikeouts. Not to shabby for a twenty-year-old pitcher that happens to play in hitter friendly Jerry Uht Park.
In five starts with the Tigers last season southpaw Andrew Oliver did indeed struggle. He was hit hard and he was hit often. He struggled with command and relied heavily on his fastball. What was once praised as an above average slider, transformed into a mediocre slurve. The experiment ended with him finishing out the season in AAA-Toledo.
This spring I was very impressed with not only the results of his outings but the improvement of his secondary pitches. Oliver has returned to AAA-Toledo this season and he is off to a solid start. Both of his starts lasted six innings, with his last start yielding a win. He has 14 strikeouts in twelve innings of work. Batters are hitting just .167 against him and he’s issued just three walks.
In the case of Turner, I am extremely pleased with his progress. However, I hope that the combination of his performance and Detroit’s mediocre rotation doesn’t equal a twenty-year-old in the Tiger’s rotation this season. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder how long Oliver continues to marinate down on the the farm? If pieces of the rotation continue to struggle and Oliver continues to shine, Oliver just might get the call. Regardless, congrats to both Turner and Oliver for a strong start!