If you were not on the Trea Turner bandwagon before, there is still room to jump on. Turner is one of the positives amidst a sea of negativity around the Nationals who are mired in a four game losing streak. Turner is batting .335 and was 8-for-8 over the last 2 games before a 9th inning strikeout ended his streak.
Turner after the last night’s game was honest about that streak he was on, “I mean, if you don’t, you’re lying,” he said. “Everyone thinks about it.”
What Turner did not know at the time is that he had tied the Nats franchise record set in 2007 by Dmitri Young and was one hit away from setting the record. Tongue in cheek, Turner said, “If I would have known that, I wouldn’t have struck out, probably.”
Andre Ethier owns the National League record of 10 straight hits. Turner is young and should have more chances to make history and for now he will share the all-time Nationals record with Dmitri Young.
“He had a great night at the plate,” Dusty Baker said. “He’s also a very determined young man. That determination and youthful exuberance, I think, has rubbed off on the team.”
Turner also got his first bunt hit of the season last night, and here is his highlight reel that you can view on this link.
Oh, and don’t forget he’s also a rookie with 64 games of major league experience.
Turner’s teammates have been very complimentary of their young teammate, Ryan Zimmerman responded to what Turner means to this line-up, “He’s still so young. He’s still learning how to play and learning himself. His baseball IQ is through the roof. I think he makes adjustments really quick. He’s really observant of what goes on around him. He’s going to be a really good one.”
Adjustments is what sets most players apart. Turner was frustrated on Monday night as he struck out 3 times, and it could have been a touch of fatigue or adjustments needed as he was biting on sliders away. Fatigue could have played a part from the long road trip as he has played every day since August 12th only taking the days-off in the schedule and the last game he sat out was on July 23rd.
“I think it’s an empty mind,” Turner said about adjustments from Monday’s game to his 4-for-4 game on Tuesday and 4-for-5 game yesterday. “You’re not really thinking too much. You just react. I think the more you can do that, the better you’ll be, the more success you’ll have, better pitches you’ll swing at. When you’re trying to guess what he’s going to throw you, or what you’re trying to do … blah, blah, blah, you get out of sync and you don’t see the ball as well.”
Speed is a integral part of Turner’s game which Trea uses on defense, to leg out infield hits, and of course a key component in stealing bases which included an epic steal of home last month. “In summer ball in high school I used to just straight steal home on the pitcher. I did that a couple of times. I’ve probably done it maybe eight times in my life,” Turner said.
"Safe! Safe! Safe! I don't believe it! The Jet stole home! The Jet stole home!" pic.twitter.com/CWedxztXLr
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 21, 2016
Turner was the third Nat to ever steal home which he accomplished back in July and Turner’s 14 steals this season has matched the Orioles entire team’s stolen base stats. Turner’s speed game is a game changer not only for Turner but the batters who follow him in the order.
“Trea said to me the biggest thing why he likes hitting triples is to be out there on third with a guy behind him. That’s huge,” Bryce Harper said. “Being able to get on third with less than two outs. Being able to get up there, knock one into the outfield and let him score, that’s pretty unbelievable. That shows a lot about how he is. He’s a team guy, a lot of fun to watch. I enjoy it.”
Turner is a 1.9 WAR now on Fangraphs and 2.0 on BaseballReference.com where he has now surpassed Danny Espinosa, and there is no National close to him in WAR/PA. Adjusted to 475 plate appearances, Turner has a 5.75 WAR/475PA. Those are MVP types of numbers.
If Trea Turner can keep this pace up for the remainder of the season, he will have to be considered in the conversation as the team’s most valuable player even though it’s only half a season’s production.