Miami’s Jacob Turner and Arizona’s Tyler Skaggs are two of the most highly regarded starting pitching prospects in baseball. On Tuesday, they opposed one another as Skaggs made his Major League debut and Turner stepped on the mound for the first time with the Marlins.
Turner, a 21-year-old right-hander, is currently ranked as the 10th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com. Skaggs was ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s 2012 Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects List.
In their first meeting at the Major League level, Skaggs outdueled Turner, allowing two runs and three hits to accompany four strikeouts and five walks over 6.2 innings, earning the win in Arizona’s 3-2 victory.
Turner surrendered three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and no walks in six innings. He settled down after serving up a two-run home run to Aaron Hill in the bottom of the first.
The centerpiece, for the Miami Marlins at least, in the trade deadline deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers, Turner was the ninth overall pick out of high school by Detroit in 2009.
After he was acquired in last month’s trade, the 21-year-old Turner was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts for Triple-A New Orleans after logging a 4-2 record and a 3.16 ERA at Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers system.
He opened the year at advanced Single-A Lakeland, where he recorded a 1.66 ERA in four starts. Turner was also 1-1 with a 8.03 ERA in three starts with the Tigers.
Arguably the most highly regarded of the plethora of Diamondbacks starting pitching prospects that also includes Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin and Archie Bradley is Skaggs, a supplemental first rounder out of high school by the Angels in 2009.
Packaged with Corbin from the Angels in the Dan Haren deal, Skaggs has seen time at Mobile and Reno this year. He logged a 2.84 ERA in 13 starts at Mobile and was nasty at Reno, where he was 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA and a .253 opponent’s batting average in nine starts.
With Turner and 2011 first rounder Jose Fernandez, who is on the fast track to Miami, the Marlins have young arms to build around if they choose to trade Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco. Nathan Eovaldi, who Miami acquired in last month’s Hanley Ramirez trade, is currently in the Marlins rotation and is just 22.
In the near future, Skaggs is expected to be part of a Diamondbacks rotation that could also include Bauer, Corbin, Bradley. Talented young veterans Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill already occupy two of the starting spots.