The brightest spot of the season for the Miami Marlins was by far their young, talented rotation. Today we will spotlight two more of these promising pitchers. Jacob Turner and Nathan Eovaldi are two pitchers who both showed that they have talent, although their approaches are different from each other. At 22 and 23 year’s old respectively, they both have a lot to learn but are making the steps necessary to have viable futures in the big leagues. If both of these players continue to grow, the Marlins have 2 solid rotation guys for years to come.
Turner, originally drafted by Detroit, came over in the trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez packing. Turner was originally viewed as a top of the rotation guy, but saw his fastball speed dip while in Detroit and many began to question his future. This allowed Miami to pick him up and after a rocky half season last year, he has shown that his best may still be in front of him.
Turner finished the season with a 3-8 record, largely due to a significant lack of run support. His 3.74 ERA was a much better indicator of how well he pitched. With his drop in fastball velocity, he has had to learn how to pitch differently, becoming less of a thrower and more of a thinker. He showed a remarkable ability to pitch out of jams, keeping the ball low and becoming more of a ground ball pitcher.
The troubling trend for Turner was his decrease in accuracy. His BB/9 was an alarming 4.1 and helped contribute to his WHIP of 1.441. For him to have long-term success in the league, those numbers have to decrease. One could make an argument that he was very lucky to have that many baserunners and so few earned runs. We will call it talent and hope that he improves on it next year. Either way, Turner needs to view his first semi-full season in the majors a success.
Eovaldi also joined the Marlins in the middle of last year, arriving in the trade that sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers. Eovaldi is a power pitcher with a lively fastball and work-in-progress off-speed pitches. He made excellent progress this season as he lowered his ERA a full run to get to 3.39 for the year. He also posted career high’s in K/9 with 6.6 and WHIP with 1.317. He progressively got better as the season wore on, as he only gave up more than 2 runs in 2 of his last 12 games of the year.
I must admit, that I was more concerned about Eovaldi entering the season, than anyone else in the rotation. I thought that if he didn’t start to put some things together and show some progress, he might find himself as a quad-A player. Thankfully he improved more than I even hoped he would. He cemented himself as a solid number 3 starter in this rotation if they want to keep him there.
I have heard of some rumors to trade Steve Cishek and move Eovaldi to the closer role. I think he throws hard enough to make the transition, but I would question whether or not he has the personality to be a successful closer. If someone blew me away with an offer for Cishek, I would make the trade, but I don’t think that I would be actively pursuing moving Eovaldi to the closer role.
Since this is the 2nd of 3 starting pitcher posts, I will wait to give my overall grade until the last one. In the meantime, what did you think about Eovaldi and Turner? Do you think they have a future in the Marlins rotation and in the big leagues? Let us know in the comments below.
Here’s to 2014!