Trea Turner

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Trea Vance Turner

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Trea Turner was selected 13th overall in the 2014 amateur draft then was involved in a blockbuster trade a few months later.

Turner was first picked in the 20th round of the 2011 amateur draft, by the Pittsburgh Pirates, out of a high school in his native Florida. He decided to attend North Carolina State University instead of signing and three years later was picked in the first round by the San Diego Padres and scout Tyler Stubblefield. He decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility to turn pro and was immediately assigned to the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League, where he hit .228 in 23 games as he got his feet wet in the pro ranks. He was then promoted to the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League and there began to hit with a vengeance,putting up a batting line of .369/.447/.529 in 46 games, with 4 homers and 22 RBIs. Gifted with outstanding speed, he stole 23 bases in 69 games.

On December 17, 2014, the Padres swung a blockbuster deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in order to acquire OF Wil Myers and C Ryan Hanigan, giving up five players in return, including Turner. He and another former first-rounder, pitcher Joe Ross, were then flipped to the Washington Nationals, in return for OF Steven Souza, who was slated to become a starter in Tampa's outfield, and P Travis Ott. Because Turner had been drafted less than a year earlier, however, he fell victim to the so-called "Pete Incaviglia rule" which meant he could only join the Nats as a player to be named later, staying in limbo until June 14, 2015, the first anniversary of his signing with the Padres. As a result he reported to the Padres' major league spring training facility in February, even though everyone knew he was the de facto property of the Nationals. He played 58 games for the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League, hitting .322 with 5 homers and 35 RBIs, before he was officially allowed to join the Nats' organization. Once the trade was completed, GM Anthony Rizzo thanked the Padres for handling Turner well during the period he was no longer their property but still had to play in their organization; the Nats were not allowed to speak to him during that time, but had scouts check him out regularly. He played for the United States team in the 2015 Futures Game and on August 21st, the Nationals, in danger of falling out of playoff contention altogether, called him up to Washington. He made his debut that day against the Milwaukee Brewers, entering the game in a double switch in the 7th and went 0 for 2. In 27 games, he hit .225, his only RBI coming on a solo homer.

In 2016, he began the season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League and hit .302 in 83 games, with 6 homers and 33 RBIs. He was first called up to Washington for a couple of games in early June, and then permanently the day before the All-Star break. He played second base and increasingly centerfield for the Nats, eventually taking over the lead-off spot. He was the National League Rookie of the Month for August, when he hit .357 in 28 games, with 14 extra-base hits and 25 runs. On September 9th, he hit two homers in a game, including the game-winner off Frank Herrmann with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, to give Washington a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He repeated as Rookie of the Month in September when he hit .339 with 9 homers and 18 RBIs. For the year, he hit a scorching .342 in 73 games, with 14 doubles, 8 triples and 13 homers, 53 runs, 40 RBIs and 33 stolen bases, phenomenal numbers for only half a season. His OPS+ was an outstanding 144.

After the 2016 season, the Nationals made a couple of moves that meant Trea would return to his natural positions of shortstop in 2017. First, on December 7th, they traded three top pitching prospects to the Chicago White Sox to acquire OF Adam Eaton and immediately announced he would take over in centerfield. Then, two days later, the Nats sent incumbent SS Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels, clearing the spot for Turner. On April 25th, he became the third player in Nationals history to hit for the cycle when he did so against the Colorado Rockies in a 15-12 win at Coors Field. On a chilly night, he hit a two-run double and a two-run homer in addition to a bases-loaded triple and a single to drive in 7 runs, one less than the team record. The last Nationals player to have hit for the cycle had been Cristian Guzman on August 28, 2008. The following day, he missed another cycle by a triple, then had another three-hit game on April 27th. For the four-game series at Coors Field, he went 11-for-21 with 4 doubles, a triple and two homers, scoring 10 and driving in 11. The Nats won three of the four games, and scored in double figures in all three wins. On June 27th, he had four stolen bases in a 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs as the Nats victimized the battery of Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero for seven steals in only four innings to tie a franchise record. He was leading the majors with 35 steals when he suffered a broken wrist on June 29th when hit by a pitch thrown by the Cubs' Pedro Strop. he returned to action on August 29th. he finished the season at .284 in 98 games, with 75 runs scored, 11 homers, 45 RBIs and 46 stolen bases. However, he fizzled in the postseason, as he was just 3 for 23 in Washington's loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series.

In 2018 he had a healthy first half on a team beset by injuries that underperformed as a result. On July 5th, he had a career game against the Miami Marlins as he helped the Nats fight back from an 8-0 deficit in the 4th inning by homering twice, including his first career grand slam, and driving in 8 runs in a 14-12 win. The win was particularly important as the Nats had lost 17 of their previous 22 games and had fallen one game below .500 after starting the year as prohibitive favorites to repeat as division champions. On July 29th, he became the latest athlete of his generation to be enmeshed in a scandal caused by old social media messages containing hateful language re-surfacing years after the fact. Turner's posts dated back to 2011-2012, when he was in high school. On September 4th, he suffered the embarrassment of being thrown out on a walk. He was at first base when Bryce Harper had a 3-2 count and took of for second on the pitch. The pitch was Ball Four, but C Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals still threw to second base, and Turner was called out after a video review for briefly overrunning the second base bag and losing contact with it when the tag was applied. While a batter can advance to the next base on a walk without the ability to be put out, that immunity ends as soon as he reached the next base, which is why it was no longer in play when Turner broke contact with the bag. In spite of that hiccup, on September 23rd he set a new Nationals career record with his 123rd stolen base, eclipsing Ian Desmond's total. This of course did not include stolen bases amassed by members of the Montreal Expos before moving to Washington in 2005, namely the total of 634 by Hall of Famer Tim Raines. He finished the season at .271 with 27 doubles, 19 homers, 103 runs and 73 RBIs; he played all 162 games and also led the NL with 43 stolen bases.

He was off to a great start in 2019, with 5 hits including a double and a pair of homers, 4 runs, 4 RBIs and 4 RBIs in his first five games when he broke his right index finger on a bunt attempt in the 1st inning on April 2nd. He was immediately placed on the injured list. He was back on May 17th and played regularly at shortstop from that point on. On July 23rd, he hit for the cycle for the second time of his career, and it again came against the Rockies in an 11-1 win. He was just the third player to hit two cycles against the same team, following Fred Clarke and Christian Yelich (who had victimized the Cincinnati Reds twice the previous year).

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jamal Collier: "Turner 'excited' to return as everyday shortstop: Rookie excelled at center field in 2016, but will return to natural position in '17 after Eaton, Espinosa trades", mlb.com, December 11, 2016. [1]
  • Jamal Collier: "Health a key for Turner to continue breakout: Nats shortstop feeling 'really good' as new manager may drop him from leadoff spot", mlb.com, December 19, 2017. [2]
  • Steve Gardner: "Expectations high for Nationals prospect Trea Turner", USA Today, February 11, 2017. [3]
  • Bill Ladson: "Turner a postseason force at plate for Nats: Outfielder looks to continue hot streak in Game 5 vs. Dodgers", mlb.com, October 12, 2016. [4]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Trea Turner: The Washington Nationals' indispensable burner", USA Today Sports, September 23, 2016. [5]
  • Tracy Ringolsby: "Turner finds himself snagged in red tape after Myers deal: Prospect is caught between Padres and Nats due to Incaviglia Rule", mlb.com, December 19, 2014. [6]

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