Today at Marlin Maniac, we continue with our season preview by taking a look at the Marlins projected 4th starter, Jacob Turner. Of all the pitchers that are currently slated to start the season in the rotation, Turner is by far the largest question mark, although he is coming off of a solid season. Turner came to the Marlins two years ago in a midseason trade with the Detroit Tigers. Many viewed Turner as a pitcher who needed a change of scenery, after losing some velocity on his fastball and struggling at the end of his tenure in Detroit.
Turner struggled at the end of 2012, but bounced back nicely in 2013. The name of the game for any pitcher is to limit the amount of runs scored, and Turner definitely did that posting a 3.74 ERA last year, certainly acceptable for 4th starter. Unfortunately for Tuner, his team was not able to provide him with the offense necessary to win games, and his record was a dismal 3-8. That record should have been closer to .500 with anything closer to average run support.
A big concern that I have is Turner’s WHIP. Last year it increased to 1.441, which is too high to have a consistently low ERA. The good news is that his inflated WHIP was not due to opposing teams hitting him hard, rather it was a massive inflation of his walk rate. Turner posted a walk rate of 4.1 per 9 innings. For Turner to be successful he needs to lower that walk rate closer to half.
I am hoping that Turner adopts a mentality more like Henderson Alvarez‘s. Turner needs to keep the ball low and pound the strike zone. He tried to avoid too many bats last year, and that will cost him in the long run. You can’t be an effective pitcher in this league and give up that many walks. The difficulty for Turner in this mindset is that he grew up being a power pitcher before inexplicably losing some velocity. He still has enough velocity to get by, he just needs to tweak his pitching style slightly. I am hopeful that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez can assist Turner in this transition.
The good news for Turner and Marlins’ fans is that he is only 22-years-old. He has a lot to learn and is certainly ahead of the curve for the typical 22-year-old. I believe Turner will see that WHIP decrease this season, but I don’t think he will be as lucky in 2014 as he was last year. Look for his ERA to increase some, I expect closer to 4.00. but I also believe that his record will increase due to a slight increase in offensive production.
What do you think Turner’s future holds? How will he perform in 2014? Let us know in the comments below and Go Fish!