Former Wolfpack star Trea Turner off to smooth start in minors
Posted June 19
Two games into his professional baseball career, Trea Turner has a two-game hitting streak.
The former North Carolina State University all-American shortstop was picked 13th overall by San Diego in the June 5 Major League draft and almost immediately signed a contract.
Turner is among only a handful of first-rounders to have reached contract terms thus far. His former Wolfpack teammate, No. 3 overall pick left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon, reportedly is close to an agreement with the Chicago White Sox but neither party is commenting on negotiations progress.
Turner, a 6-1, 175-pound speedster who will turn 21 on June 30, has had a smooth liftoff for the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds, a Class A league that the Padres use primarily for second-year players.
The Emeralds, managed by former Penn State head coach Robbie Wine, have played only five games, and Turner wasn’t around for the first three.
Batting in the lead-off slot and playing short, Turner went 1-4 with two runs scored in his pro debut Monday night at Spokane. Eugene lost the game, 6-4.
The Emeralds’ scheduled game Tuesday night was rained out, but Turner came back with a hit, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases in a 5-2 win Wednesday at Boise.
The Padres selected another Wolfpack product in the 15th round, former South Johnston High star Logan Jernigan, a big right-hander (6-3, 215) with a lively fastball and a high ceiling as either a starter or middle reliever.
Jernigan signed last week and likely will begin at the Padres’ rookie club in Arizona. The Arizona Rookie League schedule begins this weekend.
Like several National League teams, the Padres have used many of their top draft slots over the past few years on pitchers. Taking Turner at 13th overall was deemed a surprising move for the NL West team by some pundits, but it’s an indication that the Padres’ front office folks think he could move quickly through the minors.
At Eugene, it’ll be up to Wine to sort through Turner’s potential in contrast to another shortstop, second-year pro Franchy Cordero, a light-hitting, slick-fielding Dominican who was injured much of the season in 2013.
Turner is likely more versatile. He’s capable of playing almost any position and already rates among the best base runners in the Padres minor league chain.
A third shortstop, power-hitting 24-year-old Jace Peterson, is batting .311 through 18 games with Padres AA affiliate San Antonio and is projected to reach the majors in late August.
At 30-42 and 13 games behind NL West leader San Francisco, the Padres are already almost out of legitimate post-season hope, meaning there likely will be a lot of late-season personnel juggling and position experiments. Peterson could get time at short, third base and in the outfield if he is called up.
Turner is expected to spend all of this summer in Eugene, but Josh VanMeter is the only shortstop on the Class A Padres team in Fort Wayne, Ind. VanMeter is hitting a modest .229 through 58 games and has committed 12 errors.
Although there were 12 players selected before Turner, some scouts had him rated as the most complete non-pitching prospect available. So far, he’s off and running.