Jacob Turner Excites the Heck Out of Me


It’s impossible to project a player’s future career arc after only one season of minor league ball, but it’s comforting to see a young player succeed with an aggressive assignment. The Tigers’ top pitching prospect, 19 year-old Jacob Turner, spent the second half of last season pitching in the Florida State League, and pitching quite well, I might add.

Even though Turner wasn’t overly exceptional when compared to the rest of the league, he did well to be an above average pitcher in a league dominated by much older players. How much older? The average age for a pitcher that ended the year in the top 100 of Florida State League ERA (minimum 46 IP) last year was 22.8 years. That’s nearly three years older than Turner was.

So even though you won’t find Turner’s name among the top 25 of any category when compared to the FSL as a whole, we do find that he performed very favorably among his peers. There were only 11 pitchers that compiled more than 30 innings as a 19 or 20 year old. Of that group, Turner was in the top three in ERA, WHIP, walk rate, home run rate, strikeout to walk ratio, and FIP. The only pitcher stat that I like that he wasn’t in the top two or three was strikeout rate, where his 7.5 K/9 was the group median. He’s certainly among the best of these young prospects.

Even if we expand the group of younger than average players to include 21 year-old players, we find that Turner is still in the top 25% of all of those categories, except strikeout rate, where he’s now a hair above the median.

This isn’t the first time that the Tigers have placed a top teenage pitching prospect in the Florida State League. We only have to go back to 2008 when Rick Porcello made his pro debut with the same Lakeland Flying Tigers.

And even though they’re different types of pitchers, Porcello induced a heavy number of ground balls, and Turner is more fly-ball oriented, Jacob’s rate stats all compare favorably those put up by Rick.

Turner’s showing plenty of promise, and his early success is incredibly promising. I’m usually in favor of trading prospects for established players, but if the Tigers were to deal turner they better get a heck of a return.

I definitely don’t think he’ll see the big leagues in 2011, but an arrival date of 2012 is a definite possibility for the young pitching phenom.