Two years ago, the Miami Marlins traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects including starting pitcher Jacob Turner. Now might be the time the Marlins finally get a return on their investment.
After starting last season in the minor leagues, Turner finished the campaign with a 3.74 ERA in 20 starts. Now with new confidence in his changeup, he is ready to take the next step in his development.
"Its kind of always been a pitch that I probably haven't thrown as much as I should have," Turner said. "It's probably the hardest pitch for a hitter to see because you get the same arm slot and you get the same arm speed. So it's something that playing off my sinker can be really successful."
He's not the only Marlins starter that is working on his changeup. Fireballer Nathan Eovaldi has spent the month working on the pitch and the results have been encouraging. In three Spring starts, Eovaldi has struck out eight batters in eight inning.
This Spring has been going well for Turner. On Tuesday, he threw five innings giving up one run and struck out three batters in an 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
"After the first inning I felt good," Turner said. "I made a lot of good, quality pitches, got my changeup working, which I was happy about."
What has Marlins manager Mike Redmond excited about Turner is that he looks stronger this year compared to last year and has been impressed with his velocity thus far.
"I think he's throwing the ball harder," Redmond said. "I know velocity-wise we've seen some mid-90s fastballs this year, which we didn't see last year."
If used properly, Turner's fastball-changeup-sinker combo will make Turner an All-Star pitcher, which will only make the Marlins already impressive young starting rotation much more prolific.