Tagged: Jacob Turner

Brantly gets the call to Miami

Rob Brantly at bat for the Whitecaps last season during Military Night

Former West Michigan Whitecaps catcher Robert Brantly has been called up to the Miami Marlins, and is the 99th ‘Caps Alumni to play in a Major League Baseball game. He was drafted in the third round in 2010 by the Detroit Tigers, and played in West Michigan during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He played in 52 in 2010, hitting .255, and was hitting .303 last season in 75 games before being promoted to the Lakeland Flying Tigers. This season, he was batting .254 in 36 games for the Toledo Mud Hens before being traded along with Jacob Turner and Brian Flynn in exchange for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez. A trade I wasn’t completely happy with, I might add.  While with his new Triple-A team in New Orleans, Brantly was hitting. .365 in 14 games. So far with the Marlins, he was 0-3 in his first game, and 1-3 in last night’s 5-3 loss to Colorado. As he’s the 99th Whitecaps Alumni in the majors, the organization is holding a contest to see who fans think will be number 100 here: http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120808&content_id=36348184&vkey=pr_t582&fext=.jsp&sid=t582

Brantly with Marlins GM Michael Hill signing his Major League contract.

Top photo property of Minoring In Baseball

Bottom photo courtesy of the Miami Marlins


‘Caps alums dealt to Miami brings Infante home

Brantly with the Whitecaps, sporting the Autism Awareness jersey for a very good cause. There is nothing good about the horrid jerseys on Miami. Nothing…

Sometimes being a top prospect is a good thing, and sometimes it simply makes you a target. Just one day after earning his first Major League victory, Jacob Turner is packing his bags and heading south. Instead of wearing the classic English ‘D’ of the Detroit Tigers, Turner will now have to don the gaudy Miami Marlins unis and put up with crack-pot manager Ozzie Guillen. Welcome to the real world, kid. Also going to the Miami organization are catching prospect Rob Brantly, who just participated in the All-Star Futures Game, and pitcher Brian Flynn. In the deal, the Tigers acquire starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and former Tiger and West Michigan Whitecaps infielder Omar Infante. Sanchez gives the Tigers that extra man in the rotation, and Infante will fill the second base role that has never been successfully filled since the departure of Placido Palanco. In all, Sanchez is the only player in this deal who did not play for the Whitecaps at some point. Turner pitched for West Michigan in 2010, going 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA in ten starts. Brantly and Flynn both suited up for the ‘Caps last season, with Brantly hitting .303 in 75 games. Flynn, a seventh-round draft pick in 2011, started 13 games with a 7-2 record and 3.46 ERA. Infante played in West Michigan as an 18 yr-old way back in 2000, playing in only 12 games and hitting .229. He was traded to the Cubs in 2007, only to be traded to Atlanta shortly after. In 2010 he hit .321 for the Braves, with eight home-runs and 47 RBI’s. Infante was traded to the Marlins in 2010, and is having a solid year batting .287 with eight home-runs and 33 RBI’s. I think the player the Tigers will miss most out of this deal, actually, is Brantly. I like Alex Avila behind the plate, but he’s struggled this season at the plate, and still has to prove that last years’ All-Star performance wasn’t a fluke. However, if the deal does help Detroit get into the post-season and excel there, then I’m all for it. All the best to Turner, Flynn, and Brantly, though!

Photo property of  Minoring In Baseball

Turner earns first MLB win, helps Tigers sweep ChiSox

Former West Michigan Whitecaps starting pitcher Jacob Turner earned his fist Major League victory last night, in a game that helped Detroit sweep the division rival Chicago White Sox, and putting them 1.5 games ahead in the Central standings. Re-bounding from a rough outing against the Angels last week, Turner pitched well in his 5 1/3 innings of work, giving up 3 runs in the Tigers 6-4 win. He struck-out three batters and never issued a walk. The Tigers have now won five straight and 16 of their last 21 games. Helping out offensively, and also a Whitecaps alum, was Brennan Boesch, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning. This is his second home run in as many games and was 2-3 in the game. Also pitching in was a decent little hitter Miguel Cabrera, who pounded two over the Comerica wall, numbers 299 and 300 respectively. Not bad, maybe we should keep an eye on this guy?

Turner pitched one partial season for the Whitecaps in 2010. He went 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA and 51 strike-outs.

Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Jacob Turns Heads in Debut; More Former ‘Caps Traded

Jacob Turner MLB debut vs. the California Angels

Jacob Turner made his Major League debut this afternoon, just one season away from pitching in Single-A with the Whitecaps, and two seasons out of high school. Turner is the 15th ranked prospect in all of baseball right now, so this shouldn’t be too much of a suprise to those who’ve been following his career. He didn’t disappoint, either, only giving up two runs against the talented Angels over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits, walked three, and struck out six. Unfortunately, he took the loss, thanks to the efforts of Tigers relief pitcher Phil Joke Coke. Turner recieved a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Comerica Park for his efforts.

“Once they started cheering, I don’t even know how to describe it,” Turner stated. “My body felt like it went numb. That was probably the highlight of my day, to be honest.”

The 20-year-old right-hander also impressed his manager as well as the Tiger fans in attendance and watching him on TV on Fox’s Game of the Week.

“I thought he’d do well,” manager Jim Leyland stated. “I wasn’t sure he’d do quite as well as he did, to be honest with you. But I thought he’d do well.

Turner gave the Tigers a chance to win the game, but the thanks to the anemic offense and the struggling bullpen, he took the loss. He didn’t stay with the Whitecaps too long last season, so we didn’t get a chance to see him pitch down there. He was 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA, and 50 strikeouts with West Michigan in 2010. I look forward to seeing him on the mound in Detroit in the future.

Formers Whitecaps Wells and Furbush traded to Mariners

The Detroit Tigers traded Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, Francisco Martinez, and a player to be named later to the Seattle Mariners for starting pitcher Doug Fister and relief pitcher David Pauley. Martinez is the Tigers 4th ranked prospect, but thought to be expendable due to Nick Castellanos’ progress in West Michigan. The move gives the Tigers a solid number five starter and beefs up the bullpen at bit. It also give Furbush and Wells a chance to be Major League players in Seattle. So far this season with the Tigers, Furbush is 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 appearances. With the Whitecaps in 2007, he was 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 46 strikeouts. Wells started the season with the Tigers, batting .257 with four home runs in 64 games before being optioned to the Toledo MudHens (Triple-A). In 2008, Casper batted .240  with ten home runs in 50 games with West Michigan. I wish them both the best with their new club. They can join former Whitecap pitcher Luke French who was traded to the Mariners in 2009 in a brilliant move that brought pitcher Jarod Washburn (who?) to Detroit.

Photos courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Ten Questions With Jacob Turner

turner-habitat.jpgThis is re-printed from the ’10 Questions’ segment over at MiLB.com composed by Ashley Marshall. Turner played for the Whitecaps the first half of the 2010 season before being promoted to the Class High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. Jacob represented West Michigan in the All-Star game also, and was one of the most prominant prospects the Tigers have sent to play there. He was drafted ninth overall by the Tigers in 2009 after completing high school in Missouri. In a season split between the Whitecaps and Flying Tigers, Turner was 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA with 102 strikeouts.

MiLB.com: You’ve always thrown hard, but I read that you could throw 92 or 93 mph as a 14-year-old. Is there any truth to that?

Turner: My freshman year was the first year I had been clocked by a radar gun and I was up to 92, and that was when I was 15. Ever since then, I just slowly got stronger and gained more and more velocity. I had never really thought I was throwing that hard because I had never been clocked, so it was hard to tell. But I was definitely surprised to find out.

Not throwing too many curveballs was one of the things that my dad had looked into, and he decided it would be a better idea for me to hold off on throwing any kind of breaking pitch for a while and let my arm develop naturally. And that benefited me in the long run by keeping my arm as healthy as possible.

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MiLB.com: Your pitching coach in high school was former Major Leaguer Todd Worrell. What did you learn from him?

Turner: The biggest thing I learned from him was how to go about your business on the mound from a mental aspect. He also taught me how to throw a curveball. I hadn’t thrown a ton of them and it was pretty far behind my fastball in terms of location and how consistent it was. He really helped me along with that and got it to the point where it was today.

MiLB.com: Heading into the 2009 Draft, can you put into words your emotions and what you were experiencing?

Turner: A lot of things — I was excited, but at the same time I was nervous and I didn’t know what was going to happen. With the baseball Draft, especially for a high school player, it is so unpredictable, so we didn’t really know if I was going to get drafted high enough that I would bypass college or end up at North Carolina.

I just decided to let the chips fall where they may and then decide after that, see how everything shook out and then take a step back, look at both options and see what was best for me. When I was younger, that was every kid’s dream — to be drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft, much less the first round, so it was definitely a dream come true. There were a lot of things going through my mind, but when the Tigers picked me there was a lot of excitement.

MiLB.com: How did it feel to be a multi-millionaire as a teenager?

Turner: It was definitely a weird feeling at first to know you have a certain amount of money from the Tigers. It was a good feeling both ways, without going to college to have some financial security, but at the same time you also feel like the Tigers really made a commitment to you to develop you and make you the best player you can be.

I had a car before I signed and I kept that, and I haven’t bought anything too exciting yet. The contract hasn’t changed me too much as a person, and I always tell my brothers and my parents that if you ever see a change in me, to let me know because I don’t ever want to be someone that gets changed by the money. It is just money, so I didn’t really change my lifestyle because of the contract.

MiLB.com: You had an impressive professional debut on April 10 for West Michigan, striking out seven and allowing two hits over five shutout innings. What do you remember about that day?

Turner: I was actually pretty nervous, considering it was my professional debut in a regular-season game. I wanted to go out there and kinda prove I belonged. Once I got out there, the nerves calmed down and I was able to do my thing. My parents weren’t able to come up for that game, but they got to a few games when I was playing for the Whitecaps because they lived in St. Louis and we played a few teams in the Midwest area.

MiLB.com: You made 11 appearances with West Michigan over three months in the Midwest League before earning a promotion to Lakeland. What differences did you notice at each level?

Turner: The biggest thing at the start was the adjustment to the professional game. It’s a lot faster than high school. The players are a lot better and pitching every five days definitely takes a toll on your body and your arm. And it takes time to get used to it.

When I first got down to Lakeland, I struggled at the beginning and I think that was really good for me because in high school you’re facing lesser competition. The hitters were more patient and stronger here, and if you left pitches up in the zone, they hit balls a little bit harder and a little bit farther. My mechanics got out of whack because I was trying to do a little too much rather than just trying to stay within myself. When I got back to that, I was fine.

To struggle and come back strong definitely gives me a better mind-set coming into next season.

MiLB.com: How would you evaluate your first season?

Turner: I would say there were some ups and downs, but overall it was a solid year. I felt like I learned a lot and improved and that is what the Minor Leagues are all about — improving each and every year and trying to reach your full potential. The biggest thing I want to work on, pitching-wise now, is getting consistency with all three of my pitches — my fastball, my curveball and my changeup. Obviously, right now my fastball is ahead of both my other pitches, but that is one of those things that I’ve been trying to work on. I try to make sure I have the same mechanics and progression through every pitch, throwing it just like a fastball.

MiLB.com: You got an opportunity to travel a lot with the Whitecaps. What cities have you enjoyed playing in?

Turner: My favorite city so far has probably been Grand Rapids, where West Michigan is. I really liked it up there and it reminded me a lot about home in St. Louis. There were a lot of great cities in the Midwest League, but I loved playing in Dayton. They have a great fan base and they really pack out the stadium. Their fans are into every game and it was a fun place to play.

There were a couple bus trips in the Midwest League that were pretty long, but I tried to sleep and make it go by as fast as I could. The other guys would watch movies and try to kill time and we definitely had a few characters on the team that lightened the mood. Once I got to the Florida State League, there weren’t many long trips at all.

MiLB.com: The names of top pitching prospects often get thrown around in the offseason when trade rumors are rampant. With the Tigers possibly looking to make some moves before April, have you been paying attention to what fans and writers have been saying?

Turner: I haven’t really heard anything about that. Rumors are always going to be prevalent when you’re talking about baseball in the offseason, but I don’t really concern myself too much with stuff like that. I’d definitely say it is an honor if other teams value me, but ultimately every Minor Leaguer is in the same position, trying to get to the big leagues as fast as they can.

MiLB.com: Realistically, how far away from the Majors do you think you are?

Turner: I really don’t have any idea. I go out there every single day and do my best and let the Tigers take care of the rest.

We unfortunately never had a chance to see Turner play, as he was promoted before we were able to make it down for a game. I like his props on Grand Rapids, though. I look forward to seeing how his career progresses.

Whitecaps Update 6/10

capslogo.jpgFirst Half Report: The Whitecaps finished last in the Midewest League East Division with a record of 26-43, the worst in the team’s history. The club is on pace to score it’s fewest runs in a season (currantly 570 in 2003) and to have the highest ERA (4.04 in 1999). Offensively, the only standout is third baseman Wade Gaynor (pictured) who hit .269 with 20 extra-base hits. On the mound, Giovanni Soto led the way with a 5-4 record and 2.05 ERA. Pitching prospect Jacob Turner and first baseman Jordan Lennerton have been promoted to the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Florida State League, and made room for some 2010 draft picks on the ‘Caps rosters. Coming to West Michigan are infielder Tony Plagman from Georgia Tech (where he hit 21 homers), catcher Robert Brantly from Univ. of Cal-Riverside (hit .373 with 20 doubles and 11 homers), and first baseman Clay Jones from Alabamba (hit .313 with 17 homers and 66 RBI’s for the Crimson Tide). Hopefully these guys an contribute and help to aviod the Whitecaps falling on their face again in the second half.

2010 Midwest League All-Star Game: Representing the Whitecaps in this seasons All-Star game were 19 year old pitchers Jacob Turner and Giovonni Soto. Turner pitallstargame.jpgched the third inning, giving up one double and retiring the other three hitters. “Whenever you make an all-strar team, it means you’re doing something right,” Turner told the Grand Rapids Press. “It felt all right. It was one inning. Nothing spectacular and it wasn’t terrible. I just went out there and did my thing. That’s what you have to try adn do.”  The lefty Soto came in to pitch a shutout inning in the sixth. He gave up one infield single and struck out one. “I felt proud because I’ve never been on an all-star team”, stated Soto. “And I feel I pitched well.” Their efforts help lead the East Division to a 6-2 victory over the West for the second year in a row, and fifth time in the last six years.

Whitecaps Hall of Fame: Voting has now started for the 2011 class of the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. This years ballot features current Detroit Tigers Joel Zumaya and Ramon Santiago, as well as Detroit’s head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny. Heather is the first female head groundskeeper in Major League history, and used to run things at Fifth-Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. You can cast your vote HERE.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press

Whitecaps Update 4/10

capslogo.jpg‘Caps in Second(to last): With a record of 7-14 so far this young season, obviously West Michigan’s young roster is having some struggles. The Whitecaps finally broke out of thier offensive slump yesterday, though, beating the Lansing Lugnuts 7-2 on the back of 12 hits. They had scored just three runs in their previous five games. The losing streak even prompted manager Joe DePastino to call their hitting struggles ‘ugly’ earlier this week. Instead of having someone throw batting practice, he had the team use the pitching machine with some speed in order to get the team to shorten their strides and hit line drives up the middle. It seemed to have worked.

The bright spot so far in 2010 is the young pitching staff. This year’s rotation is sporting a solid 3.15 ERA with the bullben being 2-2  with a 2.83 ERA in the past 15 games. Starter Trevor Feeney leads the way with 24 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. Also throwing well are Jacob Turner (0-0, 1.00) and Giovani Soto (1-1, 2.63). Turner unfortunately was place on the DL Monday for stiffness in his right arm. He had only allowed one run and seven hits in his two starts.

ingebobble.jpg Inge Bobblehead: If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area on May 7, stop into Fifth Third Ballpark for your free Brandon Inge bobblehead. The bobbling likeness of the former Whitecap and current Detroit Tiger will be given away to the first 1,000 fans through the gate.

Boesch MLB Debut: Outfielder Brennan Boesch recently made his Major League debut for the Tigers after Carlos Guillen was placed on the DL. In five game with the Tigers he is batting .278 with five hits, including three doubles and three RBI’s. He was a 3rd round pick of Detroit in the 2006 draft. Playing for the Whitecaps in 2007, he hit .267 with 19 doubles and 10 home runs. This kid definately has some power. He’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and work on his fielding a bit to stay up at this level.

boesch2.jpgThis will be my last post for at least another week or so, as I’m leaving for my baseball trip to Iowa later today. Wish me a safe journey with no rainouts.

Inge photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Boesch photo courtesy of the Midwest League

Whitecaps Sport Youth-filled Roster

capslogo.jpgThe 2010 West Michigan Whitecaps roster is all but set when they take the field Thursday in Eastlake, Ohio to take on the Lake County Captians kicking off the Midwest League season. This season’s roster includes five teen-agers including the Tigers number one 2009 draft pick, 18-year old Jacob Turner. Pitchers Giovanni Soto(18) and Melvin Mercedes(19), infielder Hernan Perez(19), and outfielder Avisail Garcia(18) round out the ‘brat pack’.

“We’re very young, but I like the talent we have, especially Turner, who has great stuff”, Whitecaps manager Joe DePastino told the Grand Rapids Press.

turnersigning.jpgTurner is pictured here signing for a young fan. This year’s roster will also include eleven players from last years squad that finished 81-59 and made the playoffs. After the three game series with Lake County, the ‘Caps will face the defending MWL Champion Fort Wayne TinCaps in their home opener at Fifth-Thrid Ballpark on April 11. The full West Michigan roster can be found HERE.

The Detroit Tigers opening day roster will also consist of nine former Whitecaps including: Jeremy Bonderman*(2009), Joel Zumaya(2003), Alex Avila(2008), Brandon Inge(1999), Ramon Santiago(2000), Scott Sizemore(2007), Don Kelly(2002), Magglio Ordonez*(2008), and Ryan Raburn(2002/03).

MLive.com is featuring two really good articles on Scott Sizemore. The first one discusses his background and progress at second base. The second one has to do with his friendship with fellow Tigers rookie Austin Jackson. Both are worth checking out.

Photo courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps

Jacob gets his Turn in West Michigan

turner1.jpgThe Detroit Tigers announced on Thursday that they will be assigning Jacob Turner,  thier first round pick of the 2009 draft (9th overall), to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A). The 18-year-old pitched for the Westminster Christian Academy High School in St. Louis last season. Whitecaps CEO and managing partner Lew Chamberlin told the Grand Rapids Press, “Turner represents the future of the Tigers, and I hope people would want to come out here and see him.” He has had an impressive spring training, and can hopefully keep it up at this level. I hope to get a chance to see him pitch before he’s moved up to Lakeland(high A) or even Erie(AA), which is a possibility.

Also, some former Whitecaps have been on the move this weekend as well. Optioned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens were outfielders Casper Wells, Brennan Boesch, and Ryan Strieby, as well as right handed pitcher Alfredo Figaro. Infielder Audy Ciriaco was been assigned to Double-A Erie Sea Wolves, while short-stop Gustavo Nunez has been sent to Minor League camp and has not been assigned yet.

Good luck this season to Turner and the West Michigan alumi in the Tigers organization. Looks like it will be an exciting year, especially seeing how Scott Sizemore does at the MLB level in Detroit.

IMG_1150.jpg Top photo courtesy of Westminster Christian Academy

Bottom photo property of MIB