Nathan Eovaldi hails from the same Texas high school that produced Nolan Ryan.
Jacob Turner grew up in the same Missouri town where Mark Buehrle was born and raised.
Eovaldi and Turner might not end up equaling Ryan or Buehrle as pitchers. But if they live up to projections as dependable No. 2 or 3 starters, the Marlins will consider this week’s big trades a success.
The two young right-handers were the centerpieces in deals the Marlins made with Detroit for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, and the Los Angeles Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate.
“We wanted to target young starting pitching,’’ said Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. “We think it is the most coveted thing in the game, the toughest thing to acquire. We’re talking about top-end, young starting pitching.’’
Turner, 21, was the ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft and was rated by Baseball America as the Tigers’ top prospect. Eovaldi, 22, was listed by the publication as the third-best prospect in the Dodgers’ system.
And even though both bear the “prospect’’ label, each brings a touch of big-league experience.
“These are major pieces for us going forward,’’ Beinfest said.
“Forward,’’ as in quickly.
Turner was assigned to Triple A New Orleans, where he is expected to make his first start on Saturday. Beinfest indicated he could be promoted to the Marlins before long, perhaps before the end of the season.
Eovaldi will replace Sanchez in the rotation and is scheduled to make his Marlins debut on Saturday against the Padres. It will mark the first time this season the Marlins have turned to a pitcher outside of their original five rotation members. Only the Cincinnati Reds can make that identical claim.
While Eovaldi’s 1-6 record and 4.15 ERA in 10 starts this season for the Dodgers isn’t impressive, he has received the lowest run support among National League pitchers. Turner has gone 1-2 with a 8.28 ERA in six starts — three this season and three last year — with Detroit. He was in the Tigers rotation at the time of the deal.
“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to be pitching in the big leagues,’’ Turner said, who was in a car driving to Detroit on Monday when he received word of the trade.
Scouts say that, for Turner, it’s inevitable.
Said on American League scout: “Jacob Turner, to me, I’ve written, ‘Great chance to be a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter.’ I like his arm. I like his body. He has an above-average fastball, and he can spin it. The Marlins got a good one. Everyone’s been talking about Jacob Turner.’’
The scout said he also likes another prospect the Marlins received in the deal with Detroit, catcher Rob Brantly.
“He’s not Yadier Molina,’’ the scout said of Brantly. “But I think he can be a No. 1 catcher in the big leagues. I think he’s a better receiver than [John] Buck. He throws as good or better than Buck. But catching is a funny thing. It depends on how much patience the manager wants to show with them because the learning curve is steep.’’
Brantly made a nice entrance with the Marlins organization on Wednesday, going 3 for 4 with three RBI for Triple A New Orleans.
Assessing the trades in general for the Marlins, the scout said: “I think they made perfect sense and they improved themselves for the future. I give them credit for changing gears.’’
The trade of Ramirez — and minor-leaguer Matt Dominguez earlier in the month for Carlos Lee — left the Marlins with a gaping hole at third base. Beinfest said he recognizes it as a priority, and one that could be addressed either through trade or the free agent market, though the pickings are scarce. Not only is the list of third basemen eligible for free agency after the season an unattractive one, but the Marlins — even with Ramirez’s hefty contract off the books — already have salary commitments of $66 million to just eight players next season.
“I’m not going to tell you that third base is not going to be a focus between now and next April,’’ Beinfest said. “I think it will be.’’
One possibility is third baseman Mike Olt, a top prospect with the Texas Rangers. Texas is searching for starting pitching help and are reportedly interested in Josh Johnson. While it would take something significant for the Marlin to part with Johnson before Tuesday’s deadline, a package involving Olt could prove irresistible.
“We’re going to have to look at other avenues to fortify the lineup,’’ Beinfest said. “... We need to look at third base and see how we’re going to move ahead.’’
: Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (5-8, 4.42 ERA) vs. San Diego Padres RHP Kip Wells (1-3, 4.00), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-6, 4.15) vs. Padres RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 5.16), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
: The Marlins swept their three-game series with the Padres at Petco Park in May. The Marlins have scored just 30 total runs in the 13 games since the All-Star break, and nearly half of those (14) were scored in back-to-back games against the Nationals and Cubs on July 16 and 17. In the other 11 games, the Marlins have total only 16 runs.