Turner a High Price to Pay for Tigers

There were a lot of moving parts to the deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit this week. The most significant part of that deal, however, may be the inclusion of righty pitching prospect, Jacob Turner. It's that part of the deal that's the biggest gamble for Detroit, even though their acquisitions clearly make them a far better team in 2012.

This is not to say the other prospects Detroit sent to Miami are inconsequential, but realistically it's Jacob Turner that could turn around and make them regret this trade in a few years. Farm systems do exist to service the big league club, and in this case a blue chip prospect allowed Detroit to become a stronger contender for this year's stretch run, but dealing this type of pitching prospect is always risky business.

I've had the privilege of scouting Turner a few times over the course of his professional career and he's consistently flashed distinct traits that not all elite pitching prospects show. He has the requisite power fastball and potentially plus secondary stuff. But, as impressive as that is, it's Turner's feel for pitching and ability to subtract and add movement to his fastball that really stand out. And, something that somehow goes underrated with pitching prospects is the ability to repeat their delivery. Turner has the compact, smooth delivery to do that in the big leagues.

Those details are what could put Turner over the top as a front end starter in the big leagues, but of course we can't overlook the raw stuff. Although he can crank the fastball up to 96 mph, his ability to work the two-seamer at around 92-93 could allow him to cruise through Major League lineups with his good command. His changeup, perhaps the most important pitch for a young pitcher breaking into the big leagues, is also a major strength.

At 21-years-old, Turner is not quite ready to be the type of outstanding pitcher he may one day be in the big leagues. He has the secondary pitches to miss bats, but he hasn't fully learned how to utilize them just yet. And, like most young arms, he'll likely experience some sustained growing pains on the job. But, as much as he has going for him at such a young age, Detroit knows they paid a steep (but fair) price to improve their prospects of a deep run into October baseball.

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