Detroit Tigers: Spencer Turnbull can only go up from 2019 performance

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers should expect some sort of a breakout season from starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull.

The Detroit Tigers are continuing their way through the organization’s summer camp, and the time to pick out which players might be poised for a breakout season is now. In 2020, starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull might be one of the arms to watch that will show significant improvements.

In his first full season with the big league, Turnbull did not exactly turn heads, but things seem to be trending in a much better direction for the right-hander. Turnbull has looked quite stunning on the mound, appearing to have made significant growth in his development as a big-league starter.

He may not have had a Rookie of the Year type season like Michael Fulmer did during his big league debut, but Turnbull showed some flashes of excellent pitching. A healthy Fulmer back in the Tigers rotation means Turnbull most likely slides to the third or fourth spot in the rotation.

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In 2019, Turnbull would make 30 starts, which totaled 148.1 innings pitched on the season where he posted a horrific 3-17 record for the Tigers. Now, a win-loss record is not everything, especially on a horrifically bad team like the Tigers.

Turnbull’s ERA was 4.61, which is far above where the Tigers like it to be, even for a rookie season. On top of the high ERA, Turnbull managed a 1.44 WHIP, which was also far above where the organization would like it to be.

Looking at last year’s performance, almost anything would be an improvement for Turnbull. Tigers writer from the Detroit Free Press Anthony Fenech seems to peg Turnbull as a breakout candidate.

As Fenech mentioned, Turnbull was one of the more impressive arms in Spring Training for the Tigers, pre-COVID-19 shutdown. In four starts for 11 innings of work, Turnbull carried a 0.82 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP, and tallied 13 punch-outs down in Lakeland.

Turnbull has his four-seam, a sinker, a slider (and curveball according to Baseball Savant), and a change-up. He favors the slurve or slider and curve as a go-to offspeed, but showed some flashiness with his hard sinking fastball.

In the 2020 summer camp, Turnbull has pieced together some strong outings, proving that he could be set to break out and become a staple in the rotation. The Tigers should be excited to see what Turnbull can do on the mound in 2020 during the few starts he will get to make.

Especially after a sharp fall off to end the 2019 season, it would be awesome to see Turnbull bounce back into year two, showing great stuff on the mound. Though the Tigers organization is deep with pitching, every bit helps, and having Turnbull be a viable number three is clutch for the rebuild.

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The Detroit Tigers are prepping for the July 24th opener with the Cincinnati Reds, and Spencer Turnbull should be prepping to start game three of this series.