It has been a long, windy road for Nik Turley to get to where he is at. After not pitching professionally since 2017, Turley is off to tremendous start in 2020 and appears to be carving out a permanent role in the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Turley was designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins following the 2017 season and claimed off waivers by the Pirates. However, due to injuries and a suspension, he did not pitch in the Pirate organization until his first outing this season.
While Turley has battled control, 9.0% walk rate, he has not allowed a home run and has struck out nine batters in 11.1 innings of work. In total, he has allowed just five hits. All of this comes out to Turley owning a 3.18 ERA and a 3.39 Deserved Run Average (DRA).
Turley’s fastball has averaged a healthy 94.0 MPH this season and has given hitters problems. Opposing batters are just 2-for-28 against the pitch, and both hits have been singles. It’s also generated an exit velocity of just 87.3 MPH. This is a big reason why there have been zero balls barreled off of Turley this season.
The lone real knock on Turley thus far is a 14.2% strikeout rate. You want to see this number climb, and has he refines his curveball, which has a lot of potential, this should happen.