The Miami Marlins ran into some difficulty with their pitching staff as of late, as the team demoted Wade LeBlanc to the bullpen and recently placed Alex Sanabia on the disabled list. With the team already short on arms from the injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi, you figured the Marlins would eventually have to turn to deposed and struggling starter Jacob Turner in the minors.
Well, it appears as though the Fish will promote Jacob Turner to make tomorrow night's start versus the New York Mets. The Fish will option Duane Below to Triple-A New Orleans in order to make room for the move.
I argued against Turner's demotion before the season began, but as the season has progressed, this idea has gotten progressively smarter. Turner has faltered badly in Triple-A, posting a 4.47 ERA and 4.48 FIP in 56 1/3 innings. Turner has recorded just a 14.5 percent strikeout rate and, while he has put up a 5.8 percent walk rate, it has not helped him keep him successful at the level. I chalked up Turner's spring training struggles with control and getting outs to a 13-inning small sample, but he has since put up almost a quarter of a season worth of bad play at a level he should be owning. Perhaps the Marlins were more right than we imagined and saw something mechanically wrong with Turner, because his early Triple-A performance has been terrible.
This makes his promotion an odd move given the team's options. The Marlins could have tried for a bullpen pitcher and reinstated LeBlanc into the rotation, but that move would not have evaluated any important player for the team. Earlier, we discussed the success of Brian Flynn's season for the Marlins, and it was possible he might receive the call as one of the more "ready" pitching prospects. However, Turner was already on the 40-man roster, so the Fish only had to make major league room to promote him.
Apparently the Marlins have been keeping an eye on him at least.
"He's been a lot better," manager Mike Redmond said. "We've all been monitoring how he's doing. He's a guy in spring training that we anticipated being in the rotation and it didn't work out. We're looking for him to come up and be a spark and take advantage of this opportunity. Hopefully he pounds the strike zone and logs some innings for us and gives us a chance to win."
Turner just turned 22 years old, so he has plenty of potential learning to do in the majors. He did have 42 very nice innings with the Marlins last season, so it is not inconceivable that he could recover with some work with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. Marlins fans are hoping the Fish can fix any problems Turner has had and return him at least to last season's form, but his struggles seem more real and far more concerning than initially thought. We will have to see how they translate to the big league level.