TigsTown Q&A: Right-hander Jacob Turner

After being the Tigers first round pick last summer, Jacob Turner has quickly emerged on the top of prospect charts. How does Turner feel about that, how is he preparing for his first full pro season and more!

TigsTown: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. To start things off, how has the off-season been going, and what have you been doing to prepare for your first season as a professional baseball player?

Jacob Turner: The off-season has been nice, but I am defiantly ready to get started. I prepared for this season just like any other one, by training and getting my arm and body ready for the wear and tear of a season.

TT: When will you be heading to Lakeland to get things started?

JT: I am already in Lakeland. I came down in early January.

TT: Let's go back to last spring and talk about the months leading up to the draft. How do you handle the pressure of throngs of scouts at all your games?

JT: I just took it one start at a time. I tried to enjoy the season rather than feel pressure. If you go out each game and give your team the best chance to win, the rest of the pieces will work themselves out.

TT: In the last days before the draft, were you confident the Tigers were going to be the team to pick you, or was it still pretty uncertain?

JT: I really stayed out of the whole process, so I had no idea what would happen on draft day.

TT: You were pretty widely considered a lock to go near the top of the draft, but that doesn't change the excitement surrounding the experience. Talk me through the day of the draft and the moments right after your name was announced.

JT: Draft day was very exciting for me and my family. Obviously being able to play professional baseball was a dream and to see that come true was awesome.

TT: The contract negotiations ran right up until the August deadline. Were the negotiations contentious with the Tigers, or were both sides just waiting until near the end to make things happen.

JT: Discussions didn't start for a while, but the Tigers obviously put a premium on drafting and developing young talent. They were great through the whole process and I am glad that we were able to work something out in the end.

TT: I happened to be in Lakeland when you made your lone in-game appearance during the Fall Instructional League. You were pulled after one inning in that game, and there were some lengthy conversations on the mound right before you came out. Can you tell me what was discussed?

JT: I hadn't thrown all summer, so coming to Instructional league I was put on a throwing program. My shoulder was tight from not throwing and they just wanted to make sure we didn't push anything. Obviously being healthy for spring training is much more important than throwing in Instructs and the Tigers wanted to make sure I was 100% coming into spring training.

TT: While you didn't appear in any other games last fall, that doesn't mean you weren't working hard. What did the rest of your Instructional League consist of?

JT: I did a lot of shoulder strengthening exercises, and really just learned the ins and outs of the organization and how professional baseball works. Although I was not able to throw a lot I definitely benefited from my time in Instructional league.

TT: For those readers that still might not be familiar with you as a pitcher, can you describe your arsenal and your approach to pitching?

JT: I throw both a two and four seam fastball, and I also throw a change up and a curveball. My approach is to go right after the hitter. I like to pound the zone early and get ahead of the hitter. Being able to work off my fastball is a big key to my game.

TT: Heading into spring training, being on the 40-man roster gives you an invitation to big league spring training. How do you prepare to walk into spring training and work with the likes of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and pitching coach Rick Knapp?

JT: I am not going to prepare any different than I have past years. I think the spring will be a great opportunity for me to learn from the older more experienced pitchers. All three of those pitchers are in the position that I hope to be in one day and being around them will definitely benefit me.

TT: Have you set some goals for yourself in 2010?

JT: My biggest goal is to keep developing all my pitches to the point that I can throw any pitch in any count.

TigsTown would like to thank Jacob for taking the time to speak with us and wishes him luck in his first professional season!

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