Turner, Ross, and Collins Represent Fort Wayne in Fall Classic
Trea Turner (Jeff Nycz)
By Fort Wayne TinCaps | October 22, 2019 9:55 AM
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Former TinCaps Trea Turnerand pitcher Joe Ross are set to play in the World Series for the Washington Nationals. Turner will be matched up against his old Fort Wayne manager, Michael Collins, who now serves as the Houston Astros' catching coach.
Turner was selected by the San Diego Padres with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft out of North Carolina State. The Florida native made his pro debut with the Eugene Emeralds, San Diego's short-season affiliate at the time. After 23 games in the Northwest League, Turner, then 21 years old, was transferred to Fort Wayne on July 12.
When Turner joined the TinCaps, the team had lost a franchise-record 13 consecutive games. But with Turner, Fort Wayne went 28-21 and surged into the Midwest League Playoffs, even upsetting the West Michigan Whitecaps in the opening round to advance to the Eastern Division Championship Series.
From the time he made his TinCaps debut through the end of the regular season, Turner led all players in Minor League Baseball in hits with 69 in 46 games. He also led the Midwest League in on-base percentage (.447) and batting average (.369), while ranking third in OPS (.976). In addition, Turner was tops on the 'Caps in slugging percentage (.529), stolen bases (14), doubles (14), walks (24), runs (31), total bases (99), and tied for the high in triples (2). He was spectacular defensively at shortstop, too.
Though he didn't log enough plate appearances to qualify for official franchise records, Turner's .369 batting average is the highest ever in Fort Wayne's 27-year history for any player with at least 155 plate appearances in a season. Turner's .976 OPS is second to only James Darnell's .986 OPS in the first half of 2009. (Darnell went on to play in 25 games for the Padres in 2011-12.)
With comparable data on FanGraphs.com readily available back to 2006, Turner's .369 batting average is the fifth highest for a Midwest League player with 210-plus plate appearances in a season, trailing only Oscar Taveras (.386, Quad Cities, 2011), Bo Bichette(.384, Lansing, 2017), Ben Revere(.379, Beloit, 2008), and Myles Straw(.374, Quad Cities, 2016).
A year after he was drafted, Turner was traded by the Padres to the Nationals in 2015. He made his big-league debut that August and quickly became one of the sports' most electric players. Turner won a pair of National League Player of the Month awards in 2016 and made Baseball America's All-Rookie Team as he finished fifth in the NL in both stolen bases (33) and triples (8). Turner hasn't slowed down since, leading the NL in stolen bases last year with 43 while he was one of only seven players in the majors to appear in 162 games. He finished second in the NL stolen bases this season with 35, despite spending a month-and-a-half on the Injured List. Turner is Washington's starting shortstop and leadoff batter.
Ross was selected by the Padres with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft out of Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif. The right-hander made six regular starts for the 'Caps in 2012 as a 19-year-old. He also started Game 1 of that year's Midwest League Championship Series. Ross returned to Fort Wayne in 2013 and blossomed into a Midwest League All-Star. He was included in the same trade as Turner to the Nationals and made his major league debut in June 2015. Tommy John surgery in July 2017 sidelined him for more than a year. He hasn't pitched yet this postseason.
As for Collins, he had a seven-year stint as a coach and manager in the Padres' organization from 2011-17, including 2014 in Fort Wayne, before joining the Astros as their bullpen catcher.
More than half of the players for both the Astros and the Nationals have appeared in the Midwest League. Houston has been affiliated with the Quad Cities River Bandits since 2013. Washington is affiliated with the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League (equivalent to the Midwest League).
INF Matt Adams (Quad Cities, 2010)
INF Asdrubal Cabrera (Wisconsin, 2005)
LHP Patrick Corbin (Cedar Rapids, 2010)
INF Brian Dozier (Beloit, 2010)
C Yan Gomes (Lansing, 2010; Lake County, 2015*)
RHP Javy Guerra (Great Lakes, 2009)
INF Howie Kendrick (Cedar Rapids, 2004)
OF Gerardo Parra (South Bend, 2007)
RHP Tanner Rainey (Dayton, 2016)
RHP Fernando Rodney (West Michigan, 2000)
RHP Joe Ross (FORT WAYNE, 2012-13)
RHP Anibal Sanchez (West Michigan, 2017*)
INF Trea Turner (FORT WAYNE, 2014)
Manager: Dave Martinez (Quad Cities, 1983-84)
Bench Coach: Chip Hale (Kenosha, 1987)
Assistant Hitting Coach: Joe Dillon (Lansing, 1998)
Third Base Coach: Bob Henley (Burlington, 1994)
Bullpen Coach: Henry Blanco (Peoria, 2007*)
General Manager: Mike Rizzo (Peoria, 1983)
OF Yordan Alvarez (Quad Cities, 2017)
OF Michael Brantley (Lake County, 2016*)
INF Alex Bregman (Quad Cities, 2015)
C Robinson Chirinos (Lansing, 2003-04; Peoria, 2006)
INF Carlos Correa (Quad Cities, 2013)
RHP Chris Devenski (Quad Cities, 2013)
RHP Josh James (Quad Cities, 2015)
C Martin Maldonado (Wisconsin, 2009)
OF Jake Marisnick (Lansing, 2010-11)
RHP Roberto Osuna (Lansing, 2013)
OF George Springer (Quad Cities, 2014*)
OF Kyle Tucker (Quad Cities, 2016)
RHP Jose Urquidy (Quad Cities, 2016)
Manager: A.J. Hinch (San Diego Padres executive, 2010-14)
Bench Coach: Joe Espada (West Michigan, 1996)
First Base Coach: Don Kelly (West Michigan, 2002)
Catching Coach: Michael Collins (Cedar Rapids, 2004-05; FORT WAYNE manager, 2014)
*MLB Rehab Assignment
Gary Cederstrom (1979-81) -- Crew Chief
Sam Holbrook (1991)
Note: Turner and Ross are technically the first former TinCaps player to reach the World Series. In recent years, Fort Wayne alums to reach the Fall Classic have included David Freese, Corey Kluber, and Michael Cuddyer, all of whom played for the organization before Parkview Field opened in 2009, back when the team was known as the Wizards and played at Memorial Stadium from 1993-2008.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.