A Tale Of Two Prospects

Tuesday night ended up being one of those games a team chalks up as a stinker and moves on. I tend to do that as well as a fan. A couple times a year, every team is going to take one on the chin like the Tigers did Tuesday, losing 13-0 to the Angels. A loss to the Angels is no big crime. They are a good baseball team, so I am not going to beat up the Tigers or even concern myself with it in the least.

The performance of Jacob Turner wasn’t all that concerning either. I think we can all see that at this point Jacob Turner isn’t ready to take the ball every fifth day as a major league starter. It’s not like he was pitching to chop liver and got ran out of there by a Seattle Mariners lineup. That Angels lineup is stacked now that the sensational Mike Trout is at the top, and he has wreaked havoc on more than just Jacob Turner.

June 21, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) talks to starting pitcher Jacob Turner (50) during the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Still, I did find it interesting the contrast in performance between Jacob Turner and fellow pitching prospect Garret Richards from the Angels with a reported large number of scouts in the audience watching. There are always scouts in the audience in the majors. However, things tend to take on a different meaning when the trade deadline approaches, and we have two teams that look like they are wanting to buy.

Comparing the two pitchers isn’t apples to apples. Garret Richards is 24 years old to Jacob Turner’s 21. Richards has also gotten a little bit more major league exposure at this point as well. They obviously faced different hitters with different approaches also. As far as ratings go, Turner has been the highest rated prospect of the two, but after watching Tuesday night, it was hard to tell why.

This isn’t to say that Jacob Turner isn’t a good prospect now because of one outing. That is just absurd, and he still has a lot of positive things going for him. He is still very much a good prospect that just has some things to work on before he can become a consistent performer at the major league level. Turner had trouble with command in his 2 inning outing, pitching to the middle of the plate way too much. Much more concerning might be that the Angels hitters were swinging as if they knew what was coming. It led to 7 runs in just 2 innings against the youngster.

Richards by contrast looked outstanding. His fastball hit 98, and was constantly in the mid 90′s with good movement. Richards you can tell also struggles to command at times, and that means he is going to have some ups and downs as well. The Tigers approach in the batters box didn’t thrill tonight and they helped the youngster out more than they should have. He did feature a pretty good curve on occasion, though his change isn’t much more than a show me pitch. Richards had started 6 games to this point in 2012 for the Angels and entered the game with a 4.21 ERA. He looks like he could be better than that, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get hit around next time either.

That’s the thing with scouting. A one time even can lead you to believe something that might not be true. Certainly Jacob Turner isn’t as bad as he seemed tonight, and Garret Richards probably isn’t as good. For one night however, out of the two prospects, Richards stole the show, and it wasn’t even close.

I don’t know if either of these guys will be traded at the deadline, and they’ve both been scrutinized much further than just this evening. There is plenty of scouting notes on these guys from the minors. What I do know is that even though it was just one start against a good offensive team, I am willing to bet Jacob Turner’s status was tarnished in the eye of Tigers fans tonight, and Garret Richards’ star was shining about as bright as ever.

Just remember to keep it in perspective Tigers fans, it could easily be the reverse next time around.

Topics: Detroit Tigers, Garret Richards, Jacob Turner, Mike Trout

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