Players’ families and friends have their ways of communicating instantaneously with technology and social media. Trea Turner‘s family uses text messaging and Facebook to communicate privately, and they have a large family to spread the word.
All we had to do was talk to Trea Turner’s mother, Donna Turner (née Morick), to find their unique family code or in this case the Morick Code for every Trea Turner home run which is: “chocolate brownies”. Yes, that delicious dessert is their family code for each home run, and it all started as a college chant.
“When Trea was a freshman for N.C. State playing at Florida State, the Florida State fans had their chants, and our family created ‘chocolate brownies clap, clap, clap, it’s a delicious treat’ as our chant,” Donna Turner said. “That is our code that we do when Trea hits a home run. We text each other ‘chocolate brownies’. We were just at a family wedding on Saturday afternoon when Trea hit a home run, and I had my earpiece in during the cocktail hour and spread the word when Trea hit a home run.”
So far in 2016, Trea Turner has hit a total of 19 home runs, and the Morick and Turner families were able to spread those code words through text messages 19 times so far this year. Six of those nineteen home runs were in the Minor Leagues in 83 games, and thirteen of the nineteen home runs were in the Major Leagues in 73 games.
How can we logically explain this surge in power? Trea’s high school coach Larry Greenstein, and both of Trea’s parents, Mark and Donna Turner, believe the power has come from improved mechanics. Donna said Trea would tell you he is stronger than he looks.
“When you get in the cage every day and make the correct adjustments you hit the ball harder,” Trea Turner explained as his thoughts on his power since his call-up.
The complete Trea Turner is that rare mix of speed, batting average, and yes, power. Trea Turner finished 5th in the Majors in slugging percentage for players with at least 300 at-bats, and was only bested by five players: David Ortiz, Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado and Freddie Freeman. Trea Turner was only .004 on his slugging percentage from moving ahead of Arenado and Freeman.
Turner finished at 9th in OPS, and his name is up there with some of the greatest players in the game. Turner beat Mike Trout in both batting average and slugging percentage, and if Turner can work more walks, he will move up the charts. Those walks pad the OBP stat which pumps up the OPS.
If we took all the offensive tools and put them together for Trea Turner, you have one of the best players in the game ranking right up there behind Mike Trout who stole 30 bases this year and clearly the best player in the Majors.
“The speed dynamic, and the power, the power tool is there,” said Don Mattingly who is the manager of the Marlins as he told us hours before Trea Turner would almost singlehandedly beat his team as he scored both runs in a 2-1 game with a HR and had a key stolen base. “Obviously a guy who has taken that club over there and energized it and kind of really changed the way they play.”
Trea Turner takes nothing for granted as he will listen in on the Nats pitcher’s meetings for tidbits and will discuss hitting with Daniel Murphy, and there is no substitute for hard work as Trea talked about putting in his time in the cage with his hitting coaches.
“A lot of hard word, and a lot of luck,” Trea Turner said as he certainly understands the principles of working hard, and also BABIP as a hitter. “To finally get up here and get the opportunity and play up here has been special and I want to take advantage of it.”
Trea Turner was the kid when he was 14 years old and again at 15 years old who was sized up as the small kid, and cut both years from the PAL Travel team in Palm Beach County, Florida. Trea was 5’4″ and very thin at 14 years old, and that always seemed to work against him as he was continually typecasted based on physical appearance.
“He has always had to prove he has belonged at every level,” Donna Turner said. “I knew he belonged and would produce.”
“Trea was cut from PAL twice, after freshman year and sophomore year,” Trea’s father, Mark Turner, told us. “PAL used to tell the story that the tryout pool when they made cuts, ‘We don’t always get it right….’”.
That quote, ‘We don’t always get it right’ is the reason Trea Turner is a Washington National and not a San Diego Padre or property of the Pirates who were the only team to scout him in high school as they drafted him in the 20th round. It was Trea’s high school coach Larry Greenstein who had to pursue the Pirates scout, Roly Pino, to take a look at Trea for the first time, and it was based on Trea’s 6.3 speed that caught the interest of the Pirates who had been building their teams based on speed and athleticism, but Trea chose college at N.C. State over joining the Pirates out of high school.
“The gap power has always been there,” Larry Greenstein said. “After his first home run this year, I sent him a text, ‘Hey congratulations on your first home run [of 2016] let’s not start dropping and lifting LOL’. He went out and hit another home run two nights later.”
The term ‘dropping and lifting’ is baseball speak for guys who intentionally try to hit home runs by dropping their back shoulder to get the lift on the ball. Luckily, Trea never really changed his swing and this is the same player who told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune after he was drafted by the Padres that his 8 HRs that led N.C. State, “Most of the home runs are probably accidents.” One thing for sure now, none of Turner’s 19 home runs this year were accidents. When Don Mattingly says you have the power tool, you have the power tool.
Mother knows best, and Trea’s mother reminds you of the mom you would see when her T-baller is up to bat at 5-years-old, as she self-described herself to this day as, “Excited. Overwhelmed. Nervous.” She would like to see Trea get an award as the top rookie because in her objective eyes, “Trea is the best!”
When we asked Donna Turner about that nice Instagram message that Bryce Harper posted up over the weekend referring to Trea as, “My favorite player! #TBE”, Donna wasn’t aware of it so I read it to her, and she was touched.
“That is so nice for someone like Bryce to say that about Trea,” Donna Turner said. “Trea has always been well liked even going back to pre-school that people wanted him at their birthday parties.”
Not much has changed since those pre-school days as Trea’s favorite food might be a plain slice of pizza with a Dr. Pepper, but nothing beats a good chocolate brownie, right?
“Chocolate brownies, clap, clap, clap, it’s a delicious treat,” Donna Turner said. (editors note: Should that be spelled treat or TreaT)?
@TalkNats2 it’s “Chocolate Brownie” clap clap. Clap clap clap.
— Rick Morick (@MorickRick) October 4, 2016