With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Old English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
Turnbull was our 22nd ranked prospect at midseason. Drafted in the second round back in 2014, the electric right-hander battled injuries and control issues in the minor leagues, leaving many to suspect a big league future in the bullpen.
However, entering a make-or-break season Turnbull was able to stay healthy and post quality numbers with Double-A Erie. In 19 starts at that level, Turnbull had a 4.47 ERA (3.16 FIP) with a 9.58 K/9 and a 3.65 BB/9. He had his first taste of Triple-A and dominated in two starts, giving up just three earned runs with a staggering 19/3 K/BB ratio in 13.1 innings of work.
That prompted a call up to the show, where Turnbull made four appearances (three starts). He posted an excellent 15/4 K/BB ratio, but gave up 11 earned runs en route to a 6.06 ERA. However, he also had a 2.85 FIP, a 3.37 xFIP and a 3.76 SIERA, indicating he didn’t pitch nearly as bad as his ERA says.
Overall, Turnbull stepped up in a big way in 2018, proving he can stay healthy and that he has the stuff to be a big league rotation pitcher. With a flurry of other right-handed pitching prospects making their way toward the show, Turnbull will need to capitalize on 2019 and 2020 if he wants to not get relegated to a future in the bullpen. While his 6.06 ERA was tough, I’d call this year a success for the flame-thrower.