Last season, Nik Turley finally resutfaced in the Majors after missing the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Turley missed both seasons because of a PED suspension and arm injuries that kept him out of actions. Before 2020, the last time he got a decent amount of playing time was with the Minnesota Twins.
In 2017, Turley pitched 92 innings with Minnesota’s Double-A and Triple A affiliates. He had stellar numbers including a 2.05 ERA, 1.98 FIP and 1.01 WHIP. Turley struck out batters at a strong rate of 34.5% while keeping walks to just 8.1%. Home runs were a non-issue for the lefty surrendering just foru. His xFIP at Double-A was a fantastic 0.84 and while it was much higher at Triple-A, it still sat at a decent 3.41 mark.
Turley reached the Big Leagues in 2017 and pitched 17.2 innings allowing 22 earned runs on five home runs, 30 hits, eight walks, and 12 strikeouts. However, despite his lackluster results in his debut season, his fastball averaged 2612 RPM and his curveball came in with 2736 RPM.
In 2020, Turley pitched 21.2 innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He put up sub-par numbers with a 4.98 ERA, 5.60 xFIP, 4.82 SIERA, and 5.14 DRA. He did have a 3.88 FIP and the home run suppression continued allowing just a single home run. Baseball Savant’s expected ERA was at 3.78, which was in the top 63rd percentile. Turley was above average in terms of hard hit rate, expected batting average, slugging, and wOBA.
Impressively, Turley was in the top 95th percentile of fastball spin rate averaging 2536 RPM. His other pitch, a curveball, was in the top 85th percentile of spinrate in baseball at 2815 RPM. In 2017, the southpaw threw a change up but didn’t throw a single one in 2020. Turley could take a big step forward for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021.