2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #1 Jacob Turner

The Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates seasons are officially in the books and the off-season is in full swing. With another season completed, the time has come for John Verburg and I to announce our 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List. Over the last month John and I have combined our lists to form a final product for our readers. Each players production, ceiling, floor and positional value ultimately determined their overall ranking. The finalized prospect list will be rolled out five at a time on my end covering each players background and a description on why they’re ranked that high and/or low. John will follow with a more detailed scouting report on each of the prospects.

Be sure to check back frequently and join the discussion as we work our way through the 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List.


2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #1 Jacob Turner

Position: Right-handed pitcher

Age: 20-years-old
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 210
2011 MiLB Teams: AA-Erie & AAA Toledo
2011 MiLB Stats: 4-5  131 IP  3.44 ERA  1.16 WHIP  8.0 H/9  2.4 BB/9  7.6 K/9  0.7 HR/9
2012 Projected Teams: AAA-Toledo & Detroit

The Detroit Tigers selected Jacob Turner with the 9th overall pick of the 2009 draft. The 6’5 right handed pitcher was 7-2 with a 0.60 ERA in his final season at Westminster Christian HS (Missouri). In 58 1/3 innings of work Turner struck out 113 while walking just 13 his senior season.

Contract negotiations came down to the wire but Turner eventually signed for a reported $5.5 million Major League contract, including a (then) club record $4.7 million bonus.

Turner began the 2010 season in Class-A West Michigan, posting a 3.67 ERA over 54 innings. He did a good job of limiting his walks, (1.5 BB/9) while striking out nearly a batter an inning (8.5 K/9). His outstanding performance in the Midwest League earned him a mid-season promotion to Advanced-A Lakeland.

Despite being one of the youngest players in the Florida State League, Turner continued to shine. He posted a 2.93 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP over 61 1/3 innings for the Flying Tigers. Turner allowed a respectable 14 walks, while striking out 51 over that span.

Last season Turner was once again challenged as he began the year in AA-Erie. In 17 starts–113 2/3 innings–Turner posted a shiny 3.48 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Turner accumulated 90 strikeouts and issued 32 walks for the SeaWolves.

Turner’s performance earned him a spot start with the big league club in late July. He would last 5 1/3 innings against the Angels, surrendering 2 runs and striking out 6 in his Major League debut.

After his spot start, Turner was re-assigned to AAA-Toledo. Turner was impressive in his three starts with the Mud Hens, posting a 3.12 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. He notched a win, 20 strikeouts and allowed just 3 walks over 17 1/3 innings.

Turner earned two more spot starts when the rosters expanded in September. The results were a little less impressive though, as he surrendered 11 runs over 7 1/3 innings. Regardless, Turner’s very aggressive 2011 campaign was extremely impressive.

Turner throws from a high 3/4 arm angle. He has a clean, simple delivery that he repeats very well. His control and command receive rave reviews for their already above-average grades. The majority of scouts also project plus command and control for Turner down the road. Turner features a strong and improving baseball IQ. His mound presence and confidence are far beyond his years.

His fastball could eventually reach plus velocity given his size. Currently both his 2 and 4-seam fastballs are above average offerings though. His 4-seam fastball can touch as high as 95, but you’ll see it sit regularly between 92 and 94 mph. His 2-seam fastball will sit regularly between 90 and 92 mph. Both offerings feature heavy late life. He became much more proficient with his 2-seamer last season, generating lots of ground-outs and weak contact from the offering.

Turner has a legitimate plus curveball that sits in the upper 70s. I observed a lot of growth in the pitch his first season in Advanced-A Lakeland. Like most young pitchers he lacks consistency from time to time. Regardless, his curveball is pretty solid and should only continue to improve.

Originally more of a “show me” offering, his change-up has become one of the top changes in the Tigers system. His mid-80s change already receives above-average grades and has a decent shot of evolving into a plus offering.

Why He’s This High/Low:
Jacob Turner is arguably the Tigers top prospect. Although it took a bit of an argument on my end to convince our own John Verburg, we’re going with Turner for the top spot.

You’ll read a lot of reports that project Turner to be an ACE. We both see Turner as more of an above-average second or third starter though. He possesses the tools and the drive to become an ACE. Similar to Rick Porcello, he could struggle to reach his ceiling because of the Tigers ignorant ways. Rather than let Turner polish his game in AAA-Toledo, I fear he’ll likely become the teams fifth starter at the beginning of next season. As we’ve learned with Porcello, it can be a bumpy ride for starting pitchers with limited experience.

That being said, Turner should still be a very solid pitcher. His ideal frame should allow him eat innings. He should be able to miss bats at a decent clip and keep the ball on the ground, regularly keeping his team in the game.

Turner should begin the season in AAA-Toledo. However, as I said before, the Tigers lackadaisical approach towards adding a fifth starter worries me that they’ve settled on Turner. I expect lots of peaks and valleys, regardless of where he lands next season. The overall finished product should be something special though!


2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects

#50 – #46

#45 – #41

#40 – #36

#35 – #31

#30 – #26

#25 – #21

#20 – #16

#15 – #11

#10 – #6 






Like what you see here and want to stay informed on the happenings at MCB? Make sure to follow me on twitter @ JAYRC_MCB and grab our RSS feed.

Tags: 2011 Down On The Farm All-Stars 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects Detroit Tigers Erie SeaWolves Jacob Turner Lakeland Flying Tigers Rick Porcello Toledo Mud Hens West Michigan Whitecaps

  • MCBjohnverburg

    I think I should offer that I kind of promoted the idea of ranking Castellanos #1 over Turner. It didn’t matter much to me, since both guys are good prospects, but after having watched both, I am beginning to like Castellanos more.

  • funkytime

    At the VERY least Turner should spend the first two months in the minors. That would push his arbitration and free agency clocks back a year, while also giving him some time for a little more seasoning.

    While he could maybe use another full season developing his game, I hope the Tigers at least do that.

  • sportz

    By far the the biggest fallacy developing pitchers… He needed more time in the minor leagues, it retarded his development to rush him.

    If you haven’t been one or coached one it wouldn’t make sense..

    Ask Mark Anderson ( a former pitcher, by the way) you push them competitively until they fail, then you refine why they failed. When you have great stuff, you can typically dispose of minor league hitters WITHOUT refining your pitches, its at the major league level where you need to sharpen your command and secondary pitches..But how would you know, that pitching to lineups that have few or no hitters that require you to be challenged.

    The Porcello argument makes me laugh..its ranges somewhere between debateable to flat out baseball ignorance…what makes anyone think he would have refined his slider or change throwing at Erie..where they wouldn’t have touched his sinker..until he got rocked in year two,..and was forced to begin to refine his offerings, only then he made the effort to improve those pitches,. Why on earth does anyone believe he would have refined those pitches any better with inferior coaching, versus inferior hitters.

    Turner neeeds experience, physical growth and some failure..he will need to be mentored by the likes of JV and others who can accelerate the refinement of his stuff..(which is better and more advanced trhan Porcello).

    • MCBjohnverburg

      @sportz A couple points of contention. One, while I respect Mark Anderson, he isn’t always right in his opinion.

      The argument is whether the Tigers can afford to wait for Turner to develop his pitches at the major league level. I would say that he indeed failed in his efforts at the big level last year, and looked very much like he needs more seasoning before he is prepared to help the major league team. That’s what it’s about isn’t it? Helping the big league club?

      Taking your argument, why force any minor league time for a talented high schooler? After all, if a guy has major league stuff coming out of high school, wouldn’t he be best off just failing and learning his stuff at the big league level? Repetition can help development too. The whole reason a lot of these kids do spend multiple years in the minors is because they just haven’t thrown their secondary stuff enough. They could blow people away in high school. There are two schools to development, the Detroit model and the Tampa model. You can be successful with both.

      I prefer to see a pitcher dominate his opponents a little more before bringing him up. Turner has yet to do that.

      And lastly, whats the rush? What can it hurt, to let Turner face AAA hitters for a season? A lot of those guys have had major league time.

  • Pingback: S2S Tabs Tigers Turner 6th Best Prospect - Motor City Bengals - A Detroit Tigers Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

  • Pingback: Eat em up Tigers! |