The Texas Rangers selected left-handed pitcher Ryan Turner with their 45th round pick in the MLB Draft last week.
A Georgia Tech product, Turner was 5-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 16 starts for the Yellow Jackets this season. In 75 2/3 innings, he yielded 104 hits while walking 15 and fanning 49.
Lone Star Dugout caught up with the 22-year-old southpaw shortly after he was drafted.
Jason Cole: Talk about what it means to you to be drafted by the Rangers.
Ryan Turner: It's achieving a goal that I've been striving for my entire baseball career. I was hoping to get an opportunity out of high school and last year and it didn't work out. Finally my senior year, I was really excited to hear my name called out because I love baseball and I want to keep playing. I'm glad the Rangers are giving me a chance.
Cole: How much did you know about the Rangers organization before they drafted you?
Turner: Not a whole lot. I know Mark Teixeira played there and he's an old Georgia Tech grad. He's been back to Tech a few times to come and talk to us. He actually spoke at our banquet this past year. Other than that, I haven't really been to that side of the country much, so it's going to be a new experience for me.
Cole: What major league team did you follow while growing up?
Turner: The Atlanta Braves were always my hometown team here.
Cole: Did you have a favorite player?
Turner: I guess it changed from year-to-year. I don't know why, but I always grew up liking David Justice. He was my player when I was little. As far as a pitcher, I've always idolized Tom Glavine, an old Atlanta Brave. They've been switching guys in-and-out so much that it's hard to get a favorite player.
Cole: How much did you talk with the Rangers before they drafted you?
Turner: Not much at all that I remember. I may have gotten a letter from them. I know a couple of days before the draft the area scout called me to get some information. I didn't think a whole lot of it because they were pretty basic questions. I didn't really know what to expect, but I'm excited about the Rangers. It's a good organization to play for.
Cole: How much have you spoken with them since they drafted you?
Turner: I've talked with the area scout a few times. We're setting up a schedule of when to meet and schedule a time to get the paperwork done. They drafted Jared Hyatt, he's another one of my teammates from Tech. We're setting a time up so we can meet, get our paperwork done, and head out there at the same time.
Cole: Like you mentioned, you played college ball with Hyatt and now you'll be joining the Rangers organization together. Can you talk about getting to continue your career with a friend?
Turner: It's great. We've always been pretty close, especially the last couple of years. We were the older guys. We only had about three seniors this year and we were two of them. We've definitely gotten close the last couple of years. We usually throw and work out together. It will be great to have somebody that you're familiar with to make the step up and move across the country a little easier.
Cole: As a senior, do you expect to sign quickly?
Turner: Yeah, I was just waiting to get my name called out. As a senior you can't expect too much financially. I just wanted to get an opportunity and I want to get out there as soon as things start up. I'm going to sign as quickly as they get the paperwork down here. I'm going to go wherever they tell me to go as soon as I can.
Cole: What has been your best moment as a baseball player so far?
Turner: I'd say it would have to be going to Omaha last year. That's something all college players strive for and practice all year for it. After two years in a row of making it to the super regionals and getting beaten on our home field, it was pretty disappointing.
Cole: Can you tell me about the pitches you throw and the speeds you generally work at?
Turner: I'd say my fastball is anywhere from 85-89 miles per hour. I also throw a curveball. I'm not sure of the velocity on that, but it's kind of a slower, bigger curveball. I also have a harder cut fastball. It's almost like a slider, but I call it a cutter. There's also a changeup.
Cole: How do you believe you improved as a pitcher while at Georgia Tech?
Turner: I think the biggest thing was mentally. When I came into Georgia Tech I had good stuff, but I was kind of mentally small. I walked a lot of guys and I wasn't real good in big situations. But as the years went on, I felt like I improved a lot. I've improved my command. I haven't walked as many guy sin the past two years. I'm just more confident on the mound and I know how to handle certain situations.
Cole: Which pitch would you call your strikeout pitch?
Turner: I'd have to say my curveball. That and my fastball are the only pitches I've had my whole life. I've been throwing it since high school and it has always been the pitch I've gone to in any count. I feel comfortable throwing it in pretty much any count.
Cole: What pitch would you say could use the most work?
Turner: I feel like all my pitches are at about the same level. I have them all pretty well under control. This past year, I struggled with my cutter. Not so much the movement, but the location. That's one thing that I need to work on. I'd get a guy 0-2 or 1-2 and leave it over the plate. I want to work on making it more of a finishing pitch.
Cole: You've worked as both a starter and reliever at Georgia Tech. Which do you expect to do in the Rangers organization and which do you prefer?
Turner: I'm really not sure. They haven't talked to me about what they want to do. But I would love to be a starter. That's the main thing I've always wanted to be. I've worked as a reliever when they have needed me to do that, but I would be willing to do either one for the Rangers. If they picked me, they obviously have a plan for me. I'll take whatever role they give me. I'd love to be a starter, but I'll do whatever they want me to.
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Ryan Turner
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