The Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWAA) have already revealed the finalists for the NL Rookie of the Year award. The top three in votes are Kenta Maeda, Corey Seager, and Trea Turner. The award show begins at 6p.m. ET on the MLB Network, and it is a certainty that Corey Seager will win the award because he was able to play 157 games and was consistently very good for the 2016 season. Trea Turner did not have the same opportunity as he started the season in Triple-A Syracuse.
Turner was called up on June 3rd from Triple-A to replace Ryan Zimmerman who went on paternity leave. Turner went 3-3 with a double and a walk in that June 3rd game. Turner did not start another game in that brief stint and was sent back to Syracuse. It would be over a month before Turner would get another chance with the Nationals as many wondered if this was going to be a short stint with a return trip ticket back to Syracuse. Then it happened, Daniel Murphy injured his hamstring in the All-Star game which was Turner’s break to get a few starts although Baker still did not play Turner every day while Murphy was nursing his hamstring.
When Murphy returned, Turner was back to the bench. Baker had an almost exasperated response to the media on playing Trea Turner.
“Right now, Trea has to fit in where he get in,” Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker said. “Right now, there’s no real place for Trea to take. This isn’t a tryout camp. This is try to play the best team overall to win the game and win the pennant. Hopefully Trea will be a part of that while he’s here.”
Yes, this isn’t a try-out camp, but Turner was better than players who were starting at the time. It was in Cleveland on July 26th when Baker finally put Turner in center field for his MLB debut at that position. Why do it in a road game in an unfamiliar stadium? Also, Turner had not played center field for a few weeks since he was promoted from Syracuse. Was this to set up Turner to fail? Turner did not fail. In fact he almost singlehandedly beat the Indians. Look at this boxscore.
Turner borrowed an outfielder’s glove from Bryce Harper as Turner did not have his own broken in, and played some solid defense. He was the starter, finally. Turner was in the news a few times a week as he was doing something spectacular with his legs, his bat, and his glove.
By the end of the year, he accumulated a very impressive slash line: .342/.370/.567/.937 What would work against Turner in award season was that he only started 69 games while appearing in 73 games as his peers like Corey Seager played in every Dodger’s game but five. Seager’s slash line was .308/.365/ .512/ .877. The BBWAA voters still saw Turner worthy of votes to get him into the top three in the Rookie of the Year vote which is quite the honor.
Turner’s entire 2016 season between Triple-A with his MLB record was 155 games with a slash of .321/.370/.517/.888 if it was fair to compare to Seager and that still beats him.
If you want to compare Turner’s value to Seager’s, take a gander at Seager’s 6.1 bWAR in 687 plate appearances, and Turner finished at a 3.5 bWAR in 324 plate appearances. If you do some quick math to see what Turner’s WAR would be if he had the same 687 plate appearances, Turner’s WAR would be 7.4 if he kept up that same pace for the full season which is fantasy baseball as you never know what would have happened. It is fun to ponder the ‘what if’. Seager had more than double the amount of plate appearances than Turner. Seager had the opportunity that Turner was not given and such is life.
The two stars matched up in the NLDS. Trea Turner batted .318 and Corey Seager batted just .130.