When the Yankees drafted Nik Turley in the 50th, and final, round of the 2008 draft, the 6’ 7” left-hander thought he would be spending the next three years at Brigham Young University. Six weeks later, the North Hollywood, California prep product was reporting to the Gulf Coast League after receiving a signing bonus more in line with that of a sixth-round pick. Turley, who celebrates his 21st birthday next week, has spent most of this season with the Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League.
Turley, on the decision to sign as a 50th-round pick: “With the round that I was drafted in, I was positive that I was going to go to college, because it was so late. I didn’t think I was really going to get anything more than a flight out if I signed. What happened is that my area scout called me and said he wanted to have a couple of cross checkers come and see me pitch. I’d pitch once a week, or something, and then a new guy would come to see me. They liked what they saw and offered me what I wanted, what I asked for in the beginning.”
On draft expectations and demands: “What I was hearing is that I would go in about the sixth or seventh round, and nowhere past the 15th, but that’s not what happened. I didn’t have an advisor, I just kind of let the scouts know that if I was drafted in the top 10 rounds, I’d sign. I was looking for around $100,000 in order to sign.
“I was at my high school graduation [on the day of the draft] and thought I was going to get a call during that, but it never happened. I was surprised and a little disappointed when it didn’t.
“I had signed [a letter of intent] with BYU — I’m Mormon — so teams thought I was going to go on my mission. I guess they’ve had problems in the past with the Mormon kids signing. I think that is what probably happened.”
On inking the contract: “[The Yankees area scout] came to my house and he had the contract with him, and it was for $100,000. That’s when I actually started talking to an advisor. I also got school-scholarship money. He came with the offer and we made some negotiations from there.”
On beginning his career in the Gulf Coast League: “I was told that the games are during the day and that there aren’t too many people who go to the games, that there are about five people at most. So I was kind of expecting what happened, but the big thing was just throwing every day. In high school, I just pitched once a week, so that was a big change, throwing every fifth day and picking up a ball every day.”
On pitching in the New York-Penn League: “It’s completely different here, because in Staten Island, we get pretty big crowds. There are like 7,000-8,000, so it’s like way different. This year I started out in the Gulf Coast, because I had some arm problems, and when I came up here it went from five fans to over 5,000 every night.”
On former Yankees pitcher “Bullet Bob” Turley: “I know that he was the MVP of the World Series, in 1958, and that he was in the majors for a while. My dad actually talked to him after I signed, and that was pretty cool. He gave me some tips and stuff like that. Hopefully I’ll be the next Turley in New York.”