Detroit Tigers: Spencer Turnbull poised for growth during 2021 season

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull is poised to show significant growth in 2021.

While the calendar year has flipped to 2021 and the Detroit Tigers still need to make some signings to round out their roster, there are a few names that stick out as being poised for breakout seasons.

Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull is one of those players who should show significant growth during the 2021 season. As the rotation begins to take shape in 2021, expect Turnbull to play a bigger role this season.

He should expect to be entrusted as the ace since Matthew Boyd has seemingly faded into the background. However, this might worry some as Turnbull has had his fair share of battles with the pressure of being a so-called “ace” even on the rebuilding Tigers franchise.

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The 2021 season is going to be different. He has steadily posted better numbers in each of his three seasons.

His 2019 campaign saw him make 30 starts where his 3-17 record may have been atrocious, but the numbers were not all that bad.

Turnbull had a 4.61 ERA, a 1.44 WHIP and struck out 146 hitters over 148.1 innings pitched in 2019. In the shortened 2020 season, Turnbull would make 11 starts, posting a 4-4 record.

His ERA was 3.97, and his WHIP was 1.34 while punching out 51 opposing hitters over 56.2 innings pitched.

The Detroit Tigers also have a new pitching coach, Chris Fetter, who brings a whole new approach to the organization.

A younger, more analytical mind than former pitching coach Rick Anderson. Not that Rick Anderson was terrible, but a fresh start for Turnbull might help him move even further in the right direction.

If Turnbull gets to work with Fetter, he may be able to fine-tune things, and 2021 could become a breakout season for him. As of right now, the “ace” role is going to be either Boyd or Turnbull as frontrunners, Michael Fulmer and newly signed José Ureña as the secondary arms.

If the Tigers go the youth movement route, it would be Casey Mize or Tarik Skubal. But the reality is that Boyd or Turnbull are likely being given the role. But after Boyd has just been worse and worse, there is no reason Turnbull does not deserve the opportunity to be “the guy” for this organization.

While pressure has been an issue for him in the past, he should not have to deal with it in 2021. There is not overwhelming pressure to win; he can be himself and simply try to hone in on his skills to be the true number one starter this organization has.

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As the 2021 season gets closer and closer, expect big things from Spencer Turnbull. In his fourth season wearing a Detroit Tigers uniform, he is poised for a breakout performance.