For much of the season we’ve heard about this stud minor league lefthander named Nik Turley. Finally (both for us and for him), he will make his major league debut on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, according to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
The 27-year old Turley spent the first seven years of his career in the Yankees system before joining the Giants in 2015 and splitting the 2016 season with the Red Sox and the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League. Always able to generate a decent number of strikeouts, Turley’s issue was that he walked too many hitters. He signed as a minor league free agent this winter and suddenly figured out how to stop handing out the free passes, and in the process his strikeout rate has spiked. In 52 2⁄3 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester, Turley has struck out a combined 84 batters and walked just 15 while giving up 12 earned runs (2.05 ERA). Additionally, he’s coming off the heels of a dominant performance where he struck out 15 batters over 6 innings last Tuesday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It appears as though Turley is practically a lefthanded Tyler Duffey - he throws virtually two pitches in a fastball and knuckle-curve, though Brooks Baseball has it on record that he also has a slider and a change-up. A regular entrant on Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five prospect list this season, Turley has generated a ton of whiffs with the curveball, so that will be a pitch to watch on Sunday. I recommend that you click on the Fringe Five link as it includes a short video that shows a few of Turley’s curves.
No corresponding move has been announced yet, though it wouldn’t shock me if recent waiver claim Chris Heston is sent packing almost immediately. Though a 40-man roster spot would need to be cleared, it won’t necessarily be Heston as he had an option used this season while he was with the Mariners, and thus can still be optioned to the minors for the remainder of the year.