Jacob Turner pitched so well for the Miami Marlins last September, it was a forgone conclusion that he would open the season in the Marlins starting rotation. This especially after the team traded two-thirds of it’s rotation to Toronto and let Carlos Zambrano walk in free agency.
That does not appear to be the case, as Turner’s struggles this spring became a major concern for new skipper Mike Redmond and the Miami Marlins. Turner has posted an ugly 9.69 ERA so far this spring, allowing 14 earned runs in just 13 innings of work. He has struggled with command, walking nine and striking out just six. Turner has also allowed three home runs this spring.
Mar 19, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jacob Turner (33) in the third inning during a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
On Sunday against the Houston Astros, Turner made his final audition start for the Marlins fifth starter role and it did not go well. Over 4 2/3 innings, he threw 85 pitches, with just 47 going for strikes. Turner allowed four runs on five hits, four walks and a long home run to center field while striking out one.
A final decision has not been made on Turner and his future with the team, as Redmond said team officials would meet sometime today and decide what to do with the rotation. An announcement is expected to be made Monday.
"“I think the most important thing is just continue to pound the strike zone. The stuff’s there. He’s got good stuff. It’s just consistency,” Redmond said. “He’s 21 years old. That’s the biggest thing to being successful in the big leagues is the consistency of pounding the strike zone, being able to consistently deliver your pitches. Everybody works on that, especially the young guys."
If Turner does not make the team, he is expected to start the season in Triple-A New Orleans. This would allow Turner some time to work out his kinks and not have be forced out there without his best stuff against major league hitters. I believe if the command was not an issue, the Marlins would not be overly concerned with Turner.
With Turner likely out of contention for the fifth starting rotation spot, it is likely that veteran Kevin Slowey will earn that role. Slowey has pitched 13 2/3 innings this spring, allowing just four earned runs, while striking out 13 and walking just four. Slowey’s spring stats are not as good as a indicator as to what kind of pitcher he is as much as his career 4.66 ERA.
Kevin Slowey could provide some upside for the Marlins if they can get a strong half season from him and flip him to a contender for a small impact prospect at the deadline.