CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – The Major League Baseball Draft is set for next week, and former Champion standout Michael Turner is hoping to hear his name called.
Three years ago this week, Turner drove in the game-winning run for the Golden Flashes, helping the baseball team win their first State Title in program history. Three years later, he’s now a catcher at Kent State and of the top players in the MAC.
“I caught the state championship game and I think some people thought I was a good catcher then, but I wouldn’t even compare that to what I am now,” said Turner. “I think I’ve made some serious strides in that category and not only catching but hitting as well.
Last season was a breakout year for Turner, who hit .369 with 42 RBI’s in 2019. Those numbers caught the eye of pro scouts around the country. This spring, he’s talked to every major league team ahead of next week’s draft. The Blue Jays, White Sox and Giants are among the teams that have expressed the most interest.
“I knew there was going to be some interest, but I didn’t really think there was going to be as much as I got this year,” said Turner. “It hurt me a little bit to find out it was only going to be five rounds because I thought it was going to be 10, and I was like really confident I was going to be in the top 10.”
The MLB Draft was cut from 40 rounds to just five this year due to financial issues with the pandemic. Still, Turner is hoping to follow in his father Brian’s footsteps, who was drafted by the Yankees out of high school back in 1989 and played professionally for several years.
“It’s really cool to know that your dad has been there,” said Turner. “Growing up I learned some things that most people aren’t going to learn because most parents don’t get that opportunity.”
Regardless of what happens next week, Turner still has two years of eligibility left at Kent State. He’s set to graduate next spring with a degree in Sports Administration.
“If it doesn’t happen, I feel like next year I can work on some things and get even better,” said Turner. “Maybe I can show some people that I should’ve been in the top five if I don’t go. But this is a dream that I’ve had since I was probably ten years old.”