Remember when Dylan Bundy blew into town a few years ago and was flat-out untouchable at this level? It took 17 innings for an opponent to score an unearned run on him (after he retired the first 26 pro batters he faced.) But this week’s Shorebird of the Week has that inning streak beat, as Christian Turnipseed pitched his first 33 2/3 professional innings without giving up a run of any sort – that streak, which began when he made his pro debut last year, finally came to an end April 22.
Now Christian isn’t your prototype pitching prospect like Bundy was. Short and stocky for a pitcher – he’s listed at 5′-11″ and 214 pounds – the 23-year-old native of Colorado went to Georgia Gwinnett College, from which only a handful of minor leaguers have come. (One is a former SotW from last year, Zeke McGranahan.) But so far he has defied the odds of a 28th round selection and had strung together 25 consecutive scoreless appearances before Greensboro got him for three runs last month. In eight innings so far this season, Christian has allowed just those three runs on five hits, striking out 11 while walking four, for a WHIP of 1.13. (For his brief career, Turnipseed has a WHIP of 0.74, which translates to about 7 runners per 9 innings. It’s tough to score runs with so few on.)
Turnipseed projects strictly as a reliever – his latest appearance against Greenville tied his career long of two innings. He’s picked up 13 career saves in 25 appearances, with four of those coming with the Shorebirds. (Having given up no runs, he obviously hasn’t blown any saves either.) I just waited to name him a Shorebird of the Week until his string was over so I wouldn’t jinx him. Since he turns 24 later this month, continued success here may merit a midseason promotion to Frederick just as Turnipseed split time between the GCL and Aberdeen last year.
It may give him a calling card besides his unusual last name.