March 26, 2014
This past September, the Vancouver Canadians won their third consecutive Northwest League Championship and one pitching prospect on that squad was left-hander Colton Turner. A Cleburne, Texas native, Turner has enjoyed his time in professional baseball since joining the Blue Jays in the 21st round of the 2012 MLB draft. The moment has been a highlight of the 23-year old’s life to date.
“I was super excited to be drafted by Toronto,” he said. “My whole family was there when I got drafted which made it even better. It was a great experience.”
In his first two seasons of professional baseball, Turner has spent time as a starter and a reliever. Spending the majority of his 2012 season as a reliever due to his collegiate workload before being drafted, Turner posted a 4-0 record with a 1.57 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings of work for a solid first season in the Northwest League.
Instead of a promotion to a full-season schedule in 2013, the Blue Jays organization thought the best course of action was to send Turner back to Vancouver to be part of the starting rotation. After making a relief appearance with the Lugnuts on June 11, the young southpaw didn’t disappoint, as he went 4-5 with a 2.96 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 67 innings of work.
“Vancouver is a lot of fun. The Northwest League is great. You get a lot of fan support there,” Turner said. “I had a really good year in Vancouver. I started in the rotation and then they moved me to the bullpen towards the end of the season [in 2012] because I threw for a lot of innings between college and pro ball.”
Turner also made four relief appearances in the Midwest League in 2013 as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. Turner went 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and nine strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work. Although Turner spent a short amount of time in Lansing, it didn’t take long for the city to make an impression on him and he’s excited for the opportunity of playing in Michigan’s capital more in the future.
“I love Lansing. It’s a great baseball city and the fan support in Lansing is great,” he said. “I look forward in playing in front of those fans more in the near future.”
Turner really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Lugnuts pitching coach Vince Horsman, as he stated the former major league pitcher helped him develop his game more for the future.
“Vince is a great guy. He’s very knowledgeable about the game and I’m glad he was able to help me out to become a better pitcher.”
Turner’s success in professional baseball should come as little surprise, as he spent three years at Texas State University where he had two great seasons prior to the draft. Turner managed a 4.33 ERA in 2011 before returning strong the following year to post a 5-3 record with a 2.46 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 87 2/3 innings of work.
As much as Turner enjoyed his time at Texas State, his favorite part was being teammates with Arizona Diamondbacks all-star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as the two of them are friends and the fact that he knew Goldschmidt was the main reason he picked Texas State.
“I really liked playing at Texas State. I used to play with Paul Goldschmidt, the first baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks,” he said. “Paul and I are really good friends and he’s one of the main reasons I went to Texas State because he showed me around on recruiting trips and introduced me to all the guys.”
Watch for Turner in 2014 as he continues to work on his command and develop as a prospect in the Blue Jays’ system.