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  • Michael Simione

Taking The Bull By The Horns - A Spencer Turnbull Deep Dive


Every year when it comes to fantasy baseball we sometimes like players for no reason. A big part of fantasy baseball is once in a while you have to go with your gut and not just what the numbers say. In 2019 and during this offseason I for some reason have loved Spencer Turnbull. Without even diving into him I liked him and I had no idea why but it got to the point where I actually tweeted about it.

When I started to dive into him I was pleasantly surprised. The 4.61 ERA is bad but the 3.99 FIP ain’t too shabby. That plus a 2.47 K/BB (good control) and .258 xBA had me thinking Turnbull could see a better 2020. So strap in and let check in to his pitches.

Four-Seam Fastball

He threw this pitch the most in 2019 and deservedly so as he utilized it really well (14.7 pVAL). He was able to rely on the pitch pounding the zone with it at a 56.0 Zone% and getting an above average SwStr% of 10.6. The main gripe I have with his fastball is he needs to raise the location. His texture chart shows it hitting the left side of the plate but at chest level. He needs to bring it up in the zone to set up his breaking pitches better.


The slider is his first good breaking pitch as it provided a solid .221 batting average against with a 78 wRC+. If he can get it in the zone more he could reach that money pitch level, overall it put up a 35.9 O-Swing%, 36.7 Zone%, and 15.3 SwStr%. The only issue I see here is left-handed hitters kill this pitch and while he doesn’t throw it too much against them it’s still a slight concern.


I am really torn on Turnbull’s sinker because it has a lot of good and a lot of bad. The bad is it had a -11.1 pVAL, 175 wRC+, and .346 batting average against. That is pretty terrible. The good is the .346 batting average against came with a .386 BABIP which isn’t sustainable. It also did provide a lot of weak contact as it had a 65.6 GB% and 5.4 Barrel%, both of which are above average. He has good control over it (39.4 Zone%) but he isn’t utilizing it well and the command is a little iffy. But man, look at the vertical movement on the pitch, it definitely passes the eye test.


Turnbull’s curveball looks okay from a statistical standpoint with a 33.5 O-Swing%, 31.4 Zone%, and 12.1 SwStr%. You want to see all of those numbers a little higher but with a great horizontal movement of -8.3 and some corrected control issues, we could see this pitch take the next step.

His curveball was pretty unlucky in 2019. It came with .273 BAA versus a .199 xBA, and that batting average also came with a super inflated .413 BABIP. The .455 SLG came with a .284 xSLG and the .483 wOBAcon came with a .370 xwOBAcon. As you can see it looks like a lot of positive regression is coming for this pitch. It is also backed with a solid 2.1 Barrel% and a great location of hitting the lower left part of the plate.


Overall the reason I like Turnbull is the repertoire he has. He has two solid breaking pitches in the slider and curveball. The four-seam isn’t bad and the jury is still out on the cutter but you have to think with four pitches to chose from he can get a solid pitch mix together. Currently going at pick 429 it makes sense to take him in deep leagues and maybe he gets that fastball up in the zone, enhances his breaking pitches and we see a nice little breakout from him.