Position: Right-handed Pitcher
The Tigers top pick in the 2009 draft, Turner is an accomplished high school pitcher with plenty to bring to the table. As a senior at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, he closed his season with a 0.40 ERA and 7-1 record in 52 2/3 innings. In that time, he has allowed just 19 hits with 105 strikeouts.
Turner was a finalist for the Jackie Robinson Award as the nation's top high school player, missing out on the award as Florida prep infielder Mychal Givens took home the award. Other honors taken home by Turner include being named to the Under Armour All-American game, and the AFLAC All-American Team.
Turner pitched 10 1/3 innings for the 18-and under Team USA squad in 2008, allowing just eight hits and two walks, while striking out 19. His performance with Team USA vaulted him onto the national landscape, and into the top of the draft.
Turner has everything scouts dream of when looking for a top of the rotation starting pitcher. His fastball has explosive life and sits in the 92-94 range while touching 98 on occasion. He throws strikes easily, with a very repeatable delivery, and he should have plus command down the line. His fastball is an exceptional pitch with its movement and control, and it should allow him to be successful very quickly.
Turner's arsenal doesn't just stop with the fastball, as he has shown an excellent ability to throw a good curveball that has good, late break. He works the pitch within the zone with regularity, and he has shown an ability to keep it down to work as both a strikeout and groundball inducing pitch. His curveball needs some refinement, but it has plus potential if he gains consistency with the pitch.
His repertoire rounds out with a change-up that has shown some promise and could be an above-average pitch with continued work. He's demonstrated an ability to keep his arm speed up, and keep hitters off balance. The key will be his ability to work the pitch to both sides of the plate and keep it away from left-handed hitters.
Turner has an exceptional work ethic, and a love for the game that any organization would love, and that should allow him to continue developing. There is little doubt that Turner has the stuff to be a future ace with elite potential.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG HS
Westminster Academy (MO)
Westminster Academy (MO)
Turner has outstanding mechanics and clean, fluid delivery that lends well to repetition. He minimizes strain on his arm and has been durable during his high school career. There is little to suggest Turner will face more than the standard obstacles in navigating the injury concerns of every young pitcher.
It is unlikely the Tigers will sign Turner in time to make his professional debut in 2009, but he should be signed in time to pitch during the fall instructional league, similar to how they handled Rick Porcello in 2007. If he shows well this fall, Turner could continue to follow Porcello's lead by debuting as high as the Florida State League in 2010.
The Tigers don't make a habit out of selecting players they don't anticipate signing, and I have ever confidence that they will pony up the necessary money to get the deal done. Expect to see Turner sign very close to the August 15th deadline, and look for him to be pushed aggressively despite his youth. The Tigers could have another future ace knocking on the big league door as soon as late in the 2011 season.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.