Yankees Prospect Watch: Nik Turley
My weekly series of highlighting a prospect continues with pitcher Nik Turley.
Drafted by the Yankees in the 50th round of 2008 Draft.
* Our very own fishjam ranked him number 20 in his top 40 Yankee prospects. Here is what he had to say about him, “6’7″ lefty reminds me a little of Andy Pettitte. Took a step forward with 2.51 ERA and 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 82 IP in Charleston til a broken hand ended his season after being promoted to Tampa.
* Seedlings 2 Stars recently said this about Turley who didn’t rank on the top 100 prospects for them. “I should emphasize something here–just because I considered a guy for the top 100 doesn’t mean he necessarily would rank above everyone I didn’t consider. Just because Turley is one of four Yankees I considered for the top 100 but snubbed doesn’t mean I’d call him a top-eight prospect in the system. In any case, though, the idea of a 6’7″ lefty with plus command and a solid three-pitch mix made me consider him for a few seconds. He put up a 2.51 ERA while striking out a batter per inning in Low-A as a 21-year-old, and I’ve always loved him as a sleeper, but he still has more to prove”.
* The Yankee Analysts all picked sleeper candidates for this year and writer Brad Vietrogoski had Turley as his sleeper here is what he said, “In a farm system flush with high-ceiling talent at all levels right now, it’s easy for someone like Nik Turley to get lost in the shuffle. Drafted in 2008 in the 50th round, Turley spent his 2009 and 2010 campaigns in the short-season leagues before finally making his full-season debut in 2011 for Low-A Charleston. In 82.1 innings pitched over 15 starts for Charleston, Turley posted a 2.51 ERA/3.53 FIP slash with 8.96 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9, earning himself a promotion to High-A Tampa. He made just two starts there before suffering a season-ending broken pitching hand, but Turley did enough to get himself noticed after two years of up-and-down performances in the SS leagues and will be looking to build off of that momentum when he opens 2012 back in Tampa. As a lefty in a very righty-heavy farm system right now, Turley has a chance to make a big jump up everybody’s prospect lists for next season.
The interesting thing about Turley, and the thing that excites me the most about him, is the fact that he’s almost the exact opposite of most other big-time pitching prospects. Where most come in with an above-average or better fastball and offspeed stuff that needs work, Turley’s fastball is actually his weakest pitch, sitting in the high 80s most of the time. He makes up for that by having very good command of the pitch and by having a very good curveball and an effective changeup. Turley is a huge dude at 6’6″, and he can create a lot of problems for hitters with his size and arm angle, especially if he can tighten up his mechanics and consistently sit low-90s with the heater. An improved fastball combined with a curveball and change that he’ll continue to refine would make Turley a left hander with three above-average pitches and plus command, and that combination can wreak havoc on hitters at the lower levels. He’s flown a little under the radar so far, but I expect the pitching coaches at Tampa to make Turley a pet project of theirs this season and for him to force himself into the discussion for next year’s top 15-20 with another good year this year.”
* Mike Axisa from River Ave Blues ranked Turley at 22nd on his top 30 prospects for 2012. Here is what he had to say about him, “The 1,502nd of 1,504 players drafted in 2008, Turley finally escaped the short season leagues in 2011 and was in the middle of a breakout season when a line drive broke his pitching hand in early-July. His strikeout (8.73 K/9 and 23.1 K%) and walk (2.2 BB/9 and 5.8 BB%) rates made significant progress in 17 starts for Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, though his fastball is his worst pitch. Turley — who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 230 lbs. — will sit in the high-80s and touch 92 on occasion, instead relying on downward plane and his the ability to dot the corners. His big breaking curveball is his best offering, and his fastball plays up because his changeup is so effective. He could add some velocity if he tightens up his delivery, which tends to fall out of whack from time to time. Turley will return to Tampa to open the season and could be in line for a midseason promotion. He will be Rule 5 Draft eligible next winter, so a big season will force the Yankees to think long and hard about adding him to the 40-man roster.”