A surprise post

Posted by Baseball Bob at 09:33
Jun 112017

The Yankees exploded yesterday, scoring 9 runs in the first two innings, getting a great start from Severino, and blasting the Orioles 16-2, their fourth straight start scoring 8 or more (and their 20th of the year). Oddly, that’s not what I want to talk about.

My sister has a daughter who is a good friend of Nik Turley, who is starting today for the first-place Minnesota Twins in his major-league debut. He is a pretty amazing story: he was drafted by the Yankees in the 50th round of the 2008 draft, the 1502nd player chosen (!) and second-to-last overall. He pitched 8 innings of rookie-league ball in 2008 as an 18-year-old, allowing a single earned run (ERA 1.12). Back in rookie ball for 2009 he was 2-3 2.82 in 54 IP. In 2010 (aged 20) he pitched 72 innings between rookie and low A, with a 3.86 ERA which is a bit deceiving because he allowed 6 unearned runs, some of which is obviously his fault. Continuing to pitch in leagues where he was younger than the average, he had a good year in 2011 in A-ball (4-6 2.61) and a couple of rough starts in high-A (7 IP 6.14). In 2012, now 22, he pitched 112 innings for high-A Tampa (9-5 2.89) earning a 1-start promotion to AA, where he allowed 3 ER in 5 IP.

Here is where it gets a bit weird, for me. I didn’t know, at all, that my sister and her daughter were following this career avidly, but I do vaguely remember hearing about this marginal Yankee prospect (in the days when the Yankee minor-league system was pretty weak) who was a 50th round pick and now rising in the system.

In 2013 he pitched all year in AA ball (139 IP, 11-8 4.47) and once again got a 1 start opportunity in the next step (AAA) (6 IP, 1 ER). In AA ball at age 23 he is still 1.6 years younger than average: not a top prospect by any means, but a potentially useful piece. In April of 2014 he experienced tightness in his right (non-pitching) arm, and was released by the Yankees. I can’t find out exactly how it came about, but at some point he was picked up again, and he was 5-3 4.62 for AAA Scranton, but in only 60 IP. He was released after the season. Picked up by the Giants he pitched in the PCL in 2015, 102 IP 7-8 4.56. The PCL is a hitter’s league, so 4.56 is not really bad but now at 25 years old he is no longer young for any minor league, and was released after the season. He was picked up by the Red Sox, assigned to AA Portland (my sister went up there and saw him pitch) but was released mid-season after 35 IP of 4.35. He pitched for Somerset of the NJ independent league the rest of the season, and also in the Dominican winter league. Tina tells me he pitched in Mexico, probably in 2014 before returning to the Yankees.

Released again, he was signed to a minor-league contract by the Twins, and has 50 IP of 2.02 this year, between AA and AAA. He struck out 15 against the Scranton Yankees (take that!) and now, finally and amazingly, he will start a major league game, for a first-place team, debuting a few months before his 28th birthday. He is a lefty with a decent track record of strikeouts and a sometimes control problem. I wish him all the best.

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