Down on the Farm: Checking in on the Washington Nationals’ top-5 prospects

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Mar 2, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres infielder Trea Turner (89) poses during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3: Trea Turner

Shortstop Trea Turner was the player-to-be-named-later and the Nationals’ key acquisition in the trade that also brought Ross to the nation’s capital. And like Ross, Turner is one of the most exciting young players in the Nationals’ farm system and a key part of the team’s future.

The Padres drafted Turner with the 14th overall pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft after the shortstop dominated at North Carolina State. Turner was widely believed to be one of the best shortstop prospects in the game and played well in his first professional season with the Padres.

While the Nationals technically acquired Turner during the offseason, he wasn’t able to officially join the team until well into the season due to an MLB rule that prevented teams from trading prospects until a year after they were drafted. That rule has since been changed, but Turner and the Nationals still had to wait to make the deal official.

But the unusual circumstances didn’t seem to distract Turner at all and the shortstop dominated in his first two months of the season—while still officially a member of the Padres organization. In 58 games with San Diego’s Double-A team, Turner hit .322 with five home runs, 35 RBIs and and 11 stolen bases.

On June 14, Turner finally joined the Nationals and picked up right where he left off with the Padres. The shortstop began his Nationals’ career with Double-A Harrisburg and immediately began tearing it up with the bat, hitting .359 in 41 plate appearances for the Senators. After it became clear that Double-A was no match for Turner, the Nationals promoted him to Triple-A Syracuse. But playing at the highest minor league level hasn’t slowed him down too much, as the shortstop is hitting .276 in 16 games for the Chiefs.

Turner’s success this season earned him an invitation to the annual MLB Futures Game, and he didn’t disappoint. Turner put on a show in the game—which features some of the game’s best prospects—going 2-for-2 with a double and a triple.

What Turner has accomplished this season and his dazzling performance at the Futures Game is just a small glimpse of what the future could hold for the Nationals. With Ian Desmond set to hit free agency this offseason, Turner may very well be the team’s shortstop of the future. And based on what we’ve seen from him so far, that future is shaping out to be pretty bright.

Next: No. 2: A.J. Cole