The good news is, the New Orleans Zephyrs are going to have a pretty formidable rotation. The bad news is that Jacob Turner may very well be a part of it.
Mar 9, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jacob Turner (33) reacts in the first inning during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Turner is a former 9th overall draft pick. He was once named the 21st best prospect in all of baseball, a year after being named the 26th best prospect in all of baseball. He was the centerpiece of a trade that sent Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. And now, he may be starting the season in the minor leagues.
Before the game, manager Mike Redmond made it clear that Turner needed to pitch well in what could be his last chance to impress the Marlins’ brass after a dismal spring. Unfortunately, Turner pitched as he has for most of March, giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 innings pitched in Tuesday’s outing.
As disappointing as the performance from the man slotted to be third in the Marlins rotation has been, it’s important to keep it in perspective. Turner is just 21 years old, and is in fact only a year older than phenom Jose Fernandez. It would not be shocking if most pitchers his age performed the way he did and needed more time in the minor leagues. It’s a little different for Turner, however, because he is so highly hyped due to his draft position, and, thanks to the contract he signed out of high school, he is actually one of the highest-paid players on the Marlins. Additionally, he pitched pretty well after coming over from Detroit last season, and hopes had been high that he would be a mainstay in the rotation for years to come.
Undoubtedly, fans remember the disaster that was Andrew Miller, similarly a Tigers prospect, similarly rushed to the big leagues by Detroit, who disappointed tremendously in his time with the Marlins. In fact, Miller was a higher ranked prospect than Turner was. The Marlins would be wise to let Turner get all the seasoning he needs in AAA to avoid another Andrew Miller situation. Marlins fans, in turn, would be wise to remember that Turner is not yet a washout, but rather a 21-year-old kid with just 68 Major League innings under his belt and no more than 114 innings at any level of the minor leagues. There’s still time for Jacob Turner to blossom. With this season a lost cause, it would be better to watch him flourish in AAA and force a promotion to the Majors, rather than watch him struggle all year.