Turley Wants To Be More Consistent

TRENTON, NJ - Fifth in the Eastern League with 110 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched, and tied for third in the league with eight wins, Nik Turley has been a Double-A standout for the Trenton Thunder this season. Despite putting up some of the better numbers on the Thunder, he wants to improve on his consistency going forward for the rest of the season.

"You always want to have good numbers, but that's not always everything," Turley said. "I think my goal is right now to be consistent. Not have one outing where I have crooked numbers, and then two or three good ones, I want to be consistently good and that's all I've been thinking lately.

"I haven't had the most success in the last couple months, but I feel like I'm getting into more of a stride here and I've built off of the better outings."

One habit that Turley has shown at times throughout the season has been getting off to slow starts. Once he gets settled in, he gets into a groove and can give his team a chance to win every time he steps onto the rubber.

"I think he understands the importance of starting fast and keeping that to the finish," Trenton manager Tony Franklin said. "He's a good finisher. He gets stronger as the game goes on.

"I'd like to see some of that strength earlier in the game so he doesn't have too many anxious moments out there. He's got enough stuff that he's going to go to the big leagues. It's just a matter of if he can start well in the first inning and go six or seven innings."

Posting a 5.43 ERA through the first three innings of his games this season, Turley does finish incredibly strong, posting a 2.14 ERA from the fourth inning on this season.

Some of the reason Turley believes he starts games slowly is due to mechanical adjustments that he is trying to incorporate in the games. He is trying to maintain the same arm angle for all of his pitches and make his delivery smoother.

"I've been working on a few things mechanically," Turley said. "Sometimes when doing that, it's hard to focus on the game at times; especially when you are struggling.

"I feel like I'm slowly getting better and better and I'm noticing the benefits. The last couple innings [of my July 31 start], I felt like they were the best innings I've had all year so I feel like I've done a pretty good job."

He is also developing his slider more and more to add to his other two offspeed pitches; a curveball and changeup. Though the movement on a curveball and slider is somewhat similar, there are mechanical differences when teaching a young pitcher to throw a slider.

"The difference really is in the grip, hand position, and release," Trenton pitching coach Tommy Phelps said about what he has shown Turley. "It's the same arm angle, the same arm slot, everything you try to repeat so that it comes out of the same window. But it is two different pitches and it's two different feelings with release points."

At the same time, throwing both a curveball and slider will help Turley fool the hitters he faces.

"For a slider, it's a different thought process [than a curveball], different action, and the slider really comes more off of your fastball," Turley said. "Sometimes guys will struggle when you've had either a slider before or a curveball before or sometimes when you add another pitch, specifically another breaking ball, it messes them up with the other one.

"I think it's going to be a good pitch for me down the road. There are flashes here and there of it being a solid pitch and it's coming along."

Overall, the season for Turley has been solid. There have been a few ups and downs, but he feels like he has gained so much knowledge and pitch-ability since being in Double-A.

"I feel like I've definitely improved since the beginning of the year mentally, physically, mechanically, in every way," Turley said. "I think that's definitely the goal for everyone; to progress throughout the season and get better all year.

"I definitely feel the same way. I have had my struggles during the season, but I see it as a learning experience. I feel like I've been building on this last year and hopefully I can take it into next year," he concluded.

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