June 21, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jacob Turner (50) pitches during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
The Miami Marlins have traded pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects: right-hander Jacob Turner, left-hander Brian Flynn, and catcher Rob Brantly. Here are some capsule scouting reports for your entertainment and enlightenment.
Rob Brantly, C: Brantly is a left-handed hitting catcher, listed at 6-2, 205 pounds, born July 14th, 1989. He was drafted by the Tigers in the third round in 2010, from the University of California-Riverside. He got off to a fast start in 2012, hitting .311/.359/.461 in 46 games for Double-A Erie, earning a promotion to Triple-A. His bat has been less effective at Toledo, where he's hit .254/.295/.285 (not a typo on the SLG) in 130 at-bats.
Overall in his minor league career, he's hit .275/.333/.383 with 71 walks and 120 strikeouts in 928 at-bats. He has thrown out 32% of runners in his career, including 25% at Toledo.
Brantly has a mechanically-sound line drive swing, although he doesn't produce a lot of home run power. He makes contact and isn't easy to overpower, but he is impatient and doesn't draw many walks, making his OBP very dependent on his batting average. That's fine when he's hitting .300+, but he hasn't been able to do that consistently in pro ball yet, needing adjustment time with each promotion. He is considered a good overall athlete. Although he isn't exceptional at holding runners, he draws positive reviews for his mobility and has steadily improved his passed ball rates as he refines his blocking.
Brian Flynn, LHP: Flynn is a huge southpaw, listed at 6-8, 240 pounds. Born April 19th, 1990, he was an erratic but promising pitcher at Wichita State University, where he posted a 4.63 ERA with a 77/39 K/BB ratio in 84 innings last year. He was drafted in the seventh round and has continued to flash promise in pro ball, going 8-4, 3.71 with an 84/32 K/BB in 102 innings this year for High-A Lakeland in the Florida State League, with 113 hits allowed. He made his first start in Double-A two days ago, giving up five runs in five innings for Erie. The Marlins have given him a parallel assignment, sending him to the Jacksonville Suns.
At his best, Flynn pumps 93-96 MPH fastballs and a nasty slider, dominating with his intimidating frame. His velocity can be erratic and he'll drop down to 88-90 at times, but there is a lot of promise in his arm. His curveball and changeup need work and his command isn't consistent, but he's made enough progress with his secondaries that the Tigers were willing to promote him. He's still fairly raw for a college arm, but lefties with his arm strength don't grow on trees and I like his potential. He was a good pick for the Tigers in the seventh round and I like his chances to surprise with the Marlins, though it may take another year or two.
Jacob Turner, RHP: Turner is the best-known prospect in the trade and likely the key to the deal. Drafted in the first round in 2009 from high school in St. Louis, Missouri, Turner has zipped through the minor league system, with a series of strong statistical lines. This year, he posted a 2.77 ERA with a 57/31 K/BB ratio in 84 innings split between Triple-A Toledo and a four-start, 22-inning rehab assignment in High-A.
Overall, Turner is 15-14 in his minor league career, with a 3.21 ERA and a 269/89 K/BB in 331 innings, with 292 hits allowed. This includes a 3.15 line with a 60/27 K/BB in 80 Triple-A innings, with 67 hits allowed. Although his strikeout rates aren't great, he's always been one of the youngest players in his leagues. He's been roughed up in six major league starts, posting an 8.28 ERA with a 15/11 K/BB in 25 innings with 34 hits allowed. Again, he's young.
Turner is a 6-5, 210 pound right-hander, born May 21st, 1991. His fastball varies between 88 and 95 MPH, usually averaging right around 92. He works the lower part of the strike zone and has picked up plenty of grounders in the minors, although in major league action he's been gopher-vulnerable. Scouts give his curveball and changeup strong reviews, and most project him as a number two starter with his three-pitch mix and solid command of all three plus offerings.
The biggest worry in Turner's profile is health: he's had several bouts of shoulder and elbow tenderness, and while the Tigers shut him down quickly enough each time to avoid serious injury, his durability is a question-mark. His K/IP ratio is down this year and is another caution flag. He has the upside of a rotation anchor, but there are some unanswered questions here and it will be interesting to see how the Marlins handle him.
The Tigers also traded their "competitive balance lottery pick" in the 2013 draft as part of the package.
This is definitely a "win now" transaction for the Tigers. They don't have an especially deep farm system and this robs them of their top pitching prospect and another guy with a strong arm. However, keep in mind the failure rate of pitching prospects in general.