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Yankees Prospect Profile: Nik Turley

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How will this lefty pitcher perform in his first full season in Triple-A?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Background:

Nik Turley experienced a real nail-biter of a draft during 2008, when he ended up being picked number 1,502 out of 1,504 draftees. The 24-year-old lefty pitcher hails from California, where he attended Harvard-Westlake High School. Turley would have been heading to BYU if he hadn't received that phone call from the Yankees and ultimately agreed to sign with them. Listed at 6'4" and weighing in at 195 pounds, Turley is a large dude. Despite his size, Turley isn't considered a power pitcher, with his fastball averaging between 88-92 mph. He takes advantage of his size by pitching downhill and keeping the ball low in the strike zone. He also throws a curveball, which he can "throw for strikes or bury in the dirt," though Turley needs to work on his command. Additionally, Turley features a changeup which scouts say could be a good "out" pitch.

2013 Results:

Trenton (Double-A): 26 GS, 139 IP, 8.87 K/9, 4.73 BB/9, 0.71 HR/9, .290 BABIP, 3.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.18 FIP

Turley spent almost the entirety of last season pitching in Trenton, where batters hit just .230 against him. As expected from a lefty pitcher, lefties struggled against Turley, and he managed to strike out 40 of them through 34 innings. Turley was called up to Scranton in May for a one-game spot start, where he faced a rehabbing Jason Heyward. Heyward ended up hitting an RBI double, which was the only run allowed by Turley, who struck out four and walked three through six innings. The troubling thing about his 2013 campaign is the fact that his BB/9 increased quite a bit from his 2012 season, going from 3.46 BB/9 in 2012 up to 4.71 BB/9 in 2013.

2014 Outlook:

After spending 2013 in Trenton, Turley is set to start 2014 in Scranton. The southpaw could see a September call-up, or a spot start if his season goes well. Turley needs to work on the command of his off-speed pitches, and his approach to righties in particular. Given the Yankees penchant for lefty specialists, it's possible that Turley could end up converting to the bullpen at some point.