It should already be clear that we consider Trea Turner an integral part of the future of the Washington Nationals. You don’t ever want to rush greatness, and there will also be the contractual and team control issues that could be maximized, but much of this will be dictated by need. Whether Trea is predominantly a 2nd baseman or a shortstop, we’ve already seen him play both infield spots.
The Nats off-season winter trade between 3 teams that sent Steven Souza to the Tampa Rays with the Padres sending Trea Turner and Joe Ross to the Nats will be judged in hindsight for the full impact of who got the better of that trade. In real-time, Rizzo should be arrested for grand larceny in that trade. It’s as if Rizzo walked into The Louvre and swiped a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh off the walls and hung in their place a Picasso. Joe Ross has proved that if he can perfect his change-up to add to his slider/fastball ‘plus’ combo that he could be a front of the rotation starter, and Trea Turner is a toolsy middle infielder who has shown 3 obvious tools on display in speed, range and bat, and Scouts have him either as the #1 or #2 middle infield prospect in baseball ratings.
Turner has speed and instincts and that’s essential to being a successful baserunner:
And speed also works in catching balls in Rightfield. Yes, rightfield covering 107 feet from 2nd base to that spot to make that catch in the #StatCast illustration below, and we have also seen Trea Turner glide to ground balls in the infield as his footwork and quick 1st step is tremendous.
.@treavturner covers 107.4 feet with 99.3% route efficiency to make this grab: http://t.co/Mzb5KNrPZZ #Statcast pic.twitter.com/RCvAaNGWXU
— #Statcast (@statcast) August 29, 2015
Trea Turner can also hit and while his 40 at-bat MLB sample size isn’t enough to project, if we use his MiLB 2015 statline .322/.370/.458/.828 and what we have seen in the Majors, Trea Turner will be an impact bat for the Nats. He showed a patient approach in most at-bats and got his 1st MLB HR before his 30th career at-bat. Trea can help himself by dialing up the Iron Mike to 100mph and bunting buckets of balls as that has to be part of his hitting approach when he sees the 3rd baseman playing back but also to keep those infielders in and thinking about that bunt in the back of their minds while he can take advantage of reaction time when he does swing away and gets grounders past infielders pinching in.
Trea Turner grew up on the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida and was actually born in Boynton Beach which is right down the road from what will be the new West Palm Beach spring training home of the Nats.
Trea’s parents still live in Florida along with his sister. Mark and Donna Turner clearly are proud of their children, and were willing to give us some behind the scenes insight. Mark grew up in upstate New York and baseball had always been his favorite sport. He played through high school but the harsh winter weather didn’t allow him to play year around. Trea’s mother, Donna, is very athletic. She was an accomplished collegiate athlete, a diver on the swim team at Fredonia State University, and from a family where the kids participated in whichever sport was in season. She is also a very knowledgeable baseball fan.
Mark Turner shared, “Trea’s passion for baseball was probably a result of many factors. A convergence of: being born in Florida, growing up an environment where he could play regardless of season, taking to and showing a talent for baseball at a very young age, his mom’s athleticism and our love for baseball. As an example, when he was still in diapers Trea would meet me on the driveway as I came home from work and think nothing of whipping a ball at me as soon as I got out of the car, ready to play catch until dark.”
Trea’s mom Donna takes credit for Trea’s genetics for speed, and most will tell you that you can’t teach speed, you’re either born with it or not, and Trea has speed, sprinter speed. While you can be sure all the coaches at Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Florida in Palm Beach County wanted Trea to play wide receiver on the football team and run track and field, Trea stuck to Fall and Spring baseball and also took to golf when time allowed.
As Mark Turner said, “Trea is a good golfer and with more time/practice he could have been very successful at golf.” Baseball took up the bulk of Trea’s time and golf took a backseat. Like most good baseball players throughout the country, Trea and his family spent summers going to tournaments with his travel baseball team, and there just isn’t time for much else.
The Nats TV crew of FP Santangelo and Bob Carpenter joked around about Trea’s 6’1″ 175lb frame listed in the Press Guide saying that he looks lighter than that. We already know Trea could be a spokesperson for Dr. Pepper which is his beverage of choice, but Trea wasn’t a picky eater growing up according to his parents. Mark told us that Trea “pretty much ate whatever was in front of him. He and his sister had active schedules, forcing the family to have a lot of their meals on the run.” Eating wasn’t always a priority for Trea either growing up, but part of being a Major Leaguer includes a good health and nutrition plan and Trea’s frame will certainly fill-out. As Mark Turner told us, “We frequently had to corral him for meals or he would lose track of time and forget to eat.” That pattern continued through high school. On a typical school day, he would go from class straight to baseball practice and then probably stay for additional practice when the JV ‘s session fell after the Varsity’s. Anthony Rendon comes to mind as a skinny kid when he arrived on the Nats’ scene and look at him now.
It takes a dedicated family behind every baseball player to get these young men to their baseball practices and games and the travel baseball schedule leading up to High School plus all of those showcases and workouts. It takes time, money and dedication and it’s a family thing.
All the hard work and hopes and dreams started to come true for Trea who was a star at Park Vista High and was recruited all over the country for college baseball and chose North Carolina State in the ACC. Out of NC State, Trea was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1st round (13th pick overall) of the 2014 amateur draft. Trea who went with the CAA Agency signed quickly with the Padres and even was able to play in the Arizona Fall League in 2014 where he impressed scouts. Shortly afterwards on December 19, 2014 Trea Turner became the rumored PTBNL (player to be named later) in the 3 team trade that would eventually send him to the Nats; however, rules in effect at the time prohibited Trea to be officially named in the trade until 1 year had elapsed from his June 2014 pro signing date to become part of the Washington Nationals as part of the blockbuster trade. Trea’s situation actually caused a rule change which was not grandfathered in. Mike Rizzo and staff knew Trea’s talent, and his ascent was quick making his Major League debut on August 21, 2015, which was a little more than 1 year and 2 months after he was drafted.
Trea just turned 22 years old and in his 7th start of his career, he got to play the entire game in an historic Scherzer no-hitter on the 2nd to last game of the 2015 season.
Trea grinning ear to ear said, “It was a blast. You watch [Scherzer] on TV, and it’s hard to describe the feeling that you get when you’re actually out there and you’re the one that might have to make a play in order to kind of keep the no-hitter intact. So it was intense and a lot of fun.”
Trea is already a part of Major League history and years from now will have that no-hitter boxscore and photos framed up in his Florida home. Keep in mind, Trea’s High School is only about 15 miles from the Nats new Spring Training facility and that will be his backyard for many Spring Trainings to come when the Nats officially move to West Palm Beach for 2017, and Washington DC will be his home away from home for a long long time.
All smiles. First HR in the books and he's already got the ball. Congrats, @treavturner! http://t.co/cZYzv8Fquf pic.twitter.com/O2VOo9c6P7
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 30, 2015
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