1st Rd Pick: Interview: Jacob Turner

If there is one thing Jacob Turner isn't used to being at, it's home. After a whirlwind year of showcases, tournaments and games, the right-hander from Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis didn't have very long to hear his name on the first day of the draft on Tuesday, as the Tigers selected Turner with the ninth overall pick.

"I feel very honored," Turner said on Wednesday. "It's the culmination of a lot of hard work."

Heading into the big event, Turner didn't have inkling of which team would be the one to call his name.

"I let my parents deal with the pro side of it," Turner said. "I had no idea if the Tigers would take me."

Turner absolutely dominated his competition this spring by going 7-1 with a 0.40 ERA. In 52 2/3 innings, he racked up 105 strikeouts, and Turner has gotten plenty of help from several big leaguers including Andy Benes, Mike Matheny and Todd Worrell, who served as his pitching coach.

"They've been instrumental," Turner said. "(Todd) Worrell has helped me work on my pitches. (Mike) Matheny has helped me analyze how to go after hitters, and (Andy) Benes has been a family friend."

The right-hander had the opportunity to pitch for Team USA last summer at the World Junior Championships that were held in Edmonton, and he called it one of the best experiences he's had in his amateur career.

"It was a memorable and really cool experience," Turner said. "It was an honor to hear the national anthem before our games."

It was rather fitting that the Tigers selected Turner given his background. Before baseball came into the picture, he played hockey up until the seventh grade, and is still a big fan. He has also played golf in his spare time and is rediscovering the game with all of his sudden down time.

"I just picked it up recently," Turner said. "I used to play, but I stopped because of baseball. It's very relaxing and fun."

One name that has been has been linked with Turner is that of Tigers rookie Rick Porcello, not just in comparisons for ability, but for also the amount of money it could likely take for the Tigers to land the North Carolina recruit. However, Turner likes to compare his game after a big Texan who brought an intimidating presence to the mound.

"I like to pattern my game after Roger Clemens," Turner said. "I like to throw inside and establish that."

With all of the physical tools any pitcher could want, it would be easy for someone to rest on their laurels. That will not be the case with Turner.

"I'm going to put in my time," Turner said. "You won't see me being lazy. It's been an awesome experience, and I'm glad to see of the hard work has paid off."

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