The Detroit Tigers have recalled left-hander Matt Hall and right-hander Spencer Turnbull onto the active roster to finish off the season.
Detroit Tigers fans will no doubt be happy to see some different faces on the team for the last few weeks of September. While the team is hurdling toward another 90-loss season, the rebuild is just beginning and many of Detroit’s prospects will finally begin to get their shot at a big league job.
Two of those prospects were recalled today, with left-hander Matt Hall and right-hander Spencer Turnbull joining the squad. Manager Ron Gardenhire stated that the Tigers are planning to go with a six-man rotation for the rest of the season. Assuming no one currently in the rotation gets bumped, that leaves one spot for either Hall or Turnbull – with the other taking a bullpen spot.
Turnbull is already at a career-high 119.1 innings pitched. Hall is at 114.1 innings, a total he topped in each of the last two minor league seasons. That likely gives him an upper hand on the final rotation spot, with Turnbull filling in the bullpen and possibly making a spot-start.
We’ve talked at length about how Hall deserves a big league opportunity. However, Turnbull has had an excellent season as well. As a former second round pick, Turnbull was truly entering a make-or-break season in 2018. He has responded in excellent fashion, and will finally see his big league dreams realized.
In 119.1 innings spread across four levels, Turnbull has a 3.92 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.0 K/9 thanks to an excellent 133/46 K/BB ratio. He has done most of his work at Double-A, where he made 19 starts and pitched to a 4.47 ERA with a much more palatable 3.16 FIP. Our midseason No. 22 prospect, Turnbull finally got promoted to AAA and made two starts with Toledo. He posted a 2.03 ERA and an excellent 19/3 K/BB ratio in 13.1 innings.
Obviously, two starts at Triple-A isn’t a big enough sample, but Turnbull has long been one of Detroit’s more intriguing pitching prospects. He has excellent strikeout numbers, although his lack of a third pitch has many wondering if his big league future is in a bullpen, where his fastball will see an uptick in velocity and his slider can be his primary weapon.
The Detroit Tigers will get a chance to see what Turnbull can do out of the bullpen for the next few weeks. He will likely start 2019 at Triple-A Toledo, but if he pitches like he did this season he will be a fixture for the Tigers before too long – either as a starter or in the bullpen.