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Prospect spotlight: Trea Turner

Nov 25, 2015, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today

Age on Opening Day 2016: 22

How acquired: Trade with Padres, Dec. 2014

Position: Infielder

Prospect Rank: No. 2 in Nats’ org. (Baseball America)

2015 Level/Team: AA-San Antonio (Padres), AA-Harrisburg, AAA-Syracuse, MLB-Nationals

2015 Stats: (minors) 116 G, 500 PA, 454 AB, 68 R, 146 H, 24 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 54 RBI, 29 SB, 6 CS, 38 BB, 97 SO, .322 BA, .370 OBP, .458 SLG, .828 OPS / (majors) 27 G, 44 PA, 40 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS, 4 BB, 12 SO, .225 BA, .295 OBP, .325 SLG, .620 OPS

2015 Analysis: The 2015 season was about as unusual as it gets for Trea Turner. The former first round pick had to spend the first half of the season in the Padres organization, even after getting traded to Washington in a three-team deal in December. The reason was a now-extinct rule that forced teams to keep draft picks for a full year before trading them. So, until June, Turner was considered a PTNBL for the Nationals while playing for the Double-A San Antonio Missions.

Turner did well there and then finally joined the Nationals midseason to make his Harrisburg Senators debut on June 16. He would then last only 10 games there before getting promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, where he also thrived. Across 116 games with three minor league affiliates, Turner hit .322 with 29 steals and earned himself an early call-up to the majors with the Nationals in August.

Turner played sparingly with the Nationals, especially at first, but ended up appearing in 27 total games. He flashed an ability to hit for contact and blazing speed, which could help transform the Nats’ lineup next season if utilized correctly.

2016 Outlook: Turner didn’t play a lot in 2015, but he laid a nice foundation for a bigger role in 2016. And now that Ian Desmond is expected to leave in free agency, an opening may be there for Turner to become a starting middle infielder for the Nationals.

Whether Turner makes the team out of spring is undetermined at this point. They still have a bit of a logjam with Danny Espinosa coming off a strong year, Wilmer Difo in the mix and questions as to where Yunel Escobar and Anthony Rendon will play. The Nats could bring Turner to Washington out of spring, or they could choose to start Espinosa and give Turner some more seasoning at Triple-A.

That said, right now it would seem Turner’s odds of making the Opening Day roster are good. He was acquired to replace Desmond and would arguably give the Nats their best lineup, whether he plays at shortstop or at second base.

A lot could also depend on what the Nationals do this offseason. If they decide to sell high on Escobar and trade him this winter, that would open up spots for both Turner and Espinosa to start. If they move forward with what they currently have, then Turner will be likely be battling Espinosa for a starting job in spring and ultimately play plenty of games, however they decide to use him.

  1. rgsie - Nov 25, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Oh My Keep This Boy!!!!!

  2. ArVAFan - Nov 25, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    So there isn’t much baseball news today (so far–now watch Rizzo sign Greinke). This seems like a good time to post this. Earlier this fall, I was jogging around Arlington, being annoyed by the concept of “baseball game brought to you by company that makes training beer.” That led me to think that if MLB kept going that direction, pretty soon the guys would look like NASCAR drivers with patches on their unis. So that led me to think about which companies might sponsor which plays and players. Which, yep, led to another list.

    But this being America, I first have to warn you: just in case you find one or more of these amusing, maybe you’d better put down your coffee cup (or adult beverage–hi, NatsJack & Joe S). So here’s my sponsorship ideas: feel free to ignore, annotate or improve. Just don’t send them to MLB–they don’t need any ideas!

    This Scherzer no-hitter brought to you by Hershey’s, now available in the 64-ounce size for when you need to make a chocolate mess in a hurry!

    That Bryce Harper moonshot was brought to you by Space-X: blast off with us!

    Jayson Werth, presented by Hair Club for Men.

    This Rizzo roster move was brought to you by Bose noise-cancelling headphones: all you hear is the silence.

    Ramos infield single, brought to you by Blue Moon!

    Caught stealing, brought to you by Lifelock!

    Aaron Barrett, brought to you by Build-a-Bear Workshop.

    Anthony Rendon, sponsored by Five-Hour Energy.

    Bullpen sponsored by Zantac (but depending on how the season goes, may have to switch to Xanax as a sponsor. . . . or Five-Alarm Chili).

    Call on the field is overturned, presented by Servpro (“like it never even happened”).

    This Strasberg win brought to you by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.

    Strikeout! Brought to you by Hunter Fan.

    These September callups, brought to you by Peet’s Coffee.

    Double Play! Brought to you by FedEx–when it absolutely has to be there on time!

    2015 Nationals’ dugout, sponsored by the National Zoo, where the wild things are!

    Gio Gonzales, sponsored by Cholula, with the iconic wooden cap!

    Joe Ross, brought to you by Frigidaire.

    Tanner Roark, sponsored by the Prudential.

    Trea Turner, brought to you by the good hand of State Farm.

    Drew Storen: brought to you by the Home Depot–Let’s Do This!

    Home Run! Brought to you by Remax!

    Dusty Baker, sponsored by Swiffer!

    Bob Henley, brought to you by Arthur Murray Dance Studios!

    And it’s Ramos on third with a stand-up triple! Brought to you by Buffalo Wild Wings!

    • kgwcoach - Nov 25, 2015 at 8:15 AM

      Well. Done. Made my morning.

    • iconicwoodencap - Nov 25, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      +1 for Gio. Apropos of nothing, I so missed the Choula commercials on the radio, I emailed the company and begged (I have no shame) for them to consider resuming advertising on the Flagship station for Washington Sports. I cited my new life-long commitment to Cholula and my darling young girls love quoting the ads.

      They were not moved. They responded they had NO intention of advertising during Nationals broadcasts, but (sigh) suggested I listen to the Braves radio feed during joint games. I was successful in refraining from a “flamethrower” response.

      The braves radio… These are the guys that laughed derisively, suggesting that Michael A Taylor be renamed Michael E Taylor following a fielding error during an early appearance. I am sure we could build an extensive list of such broadcasting gems.

      So, If you ever see a screen name change, you’ll know why.

      Happy Turkey day…..

    • Joe Seamhead - Nov 25, 2015 at 10:14 AM

      Fun stuff.

    • Susanfaulkner - Nov 25, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      Funny stuff!! Love it. Especially the bullpen one.

  3. alexva6 - Nov 25, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    I am thankful for the opinions, often different from mine, that increase my enjoyment and understanding of baseball.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  4. veejh - Nov 25, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    It’s hard not to get excited about Turner. I hope he makes the opening day roster and starts.

  5. Section 222 - Nov 25, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    Chase, I was surprised you didn’t mention Turner’s service time issue. Seems pretty obvious he’ll start the season in AAA so that his long cup of coffee last year, plus his service time this year don’t add up to a full year. If he’s the cornerstone middle infielder that so many seem to think he is, the Nats will want that extra year of control, no?

    Also, for as much promise as he showed, he certainly didn’t rake like he did at each level of the minors. A month to work on things, and play regularly at whatever position the Nats expect to use him, would be beneficial.

    • langleyclub - Nov 25, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      Agree, but the decision to leave Turner in AAA to June will depend upon whatever other moves the Nats make.

      IMO, the Nats have to trade Escobar. He is strong candidate to regress offensively. He was horrible defensively at 3b; he is too slow footed to play SS any more; and he has never played 2B. He is more suited to play on an AL team where he can DH and be utility player.

      If the Nats try to play with Escobar at 3b and Rendon at 2b, it won’t matter if Dusty is the greatest manager in the world, their defense will cost them too many games.

      So, if the plan is to let Turner play a substantial part of the season in AAA, they need to acquire a solid defensive middle infielder (hopefully a left-handed or switch-hitting bat) that will allow Rendon to play 3B, and Danny to play SS or 2B until Turner is ready. Ben Zobrist would be ideal, but it sounds like every MLB team is making a play for him.

      If the Nats don’t bring any other MLB ready infielder, think that Turner may need to start the season with the big club.

      • Doc - Nov 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Zobrist is a good utility player but not necessarily better than Escobar in the field. His bat and his fielding are in significant decline. Best to just find a place for Escobar.

      • Section 222 - Nov 26, 2015 at 9:57 AM

        You could be right, but I don’t think that’s the way Rizzo will look at it. First, he probably doesn’t think Esco is as bad as you do. I look for him to learn to play 2B in Spring Training as was the plan this year, and start the season there so TTB can play 3B. Unless there’s a trade, that puts Espi at SS. I’m not a big believer in his bat, but it’s the best defensive option unless we pick up someone in a trade. They won’t give up a year of control of TT for marginally improved defense, especially because Esco’s bat, even if not as good as last year, is better than TT’s, at least for now.

  6. Sonny G 10 - Nov 25, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • Susanfaulkner - Nov 25, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      The same to you my fellow Nats fans!!

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