Washington Nationals: Who Do They Want Turner To Be?

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Sep 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Trea Turner (7) in the on deck circle against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Trea Turner (7) in the on deck circle against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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With young phenom Trea Turner at their disposal, it’s imperative that the Washington Nationals decide what his spot in the lineup and in the field will be for the future.

Last year the Washington Nationals won the NL East for the third time in five years, and their success was influenced greatly by the play of free agent signee Daniel Murphy. Murphy hit an astonishing .347, hitting 25 home runs, and driving in 104 runs.

Murphy hit and played at a superstar level. However, Trea Turner was just as important to their success.

In early July, the Nationals called up shortstop Trea Turner from the minor leagues to help bolster their bench. He did just that, and then some.

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While he is a natural shortstop, Turner is also capable of playing second, and while his infield versatility was something that they could’ve use to their advantage. Instead, the Nationals opted to put him out in center field.

At the time, moving Turner to center field was motivated by the recent power surge of shortstop Danny Espinosa, and the struggles that Ben Revere was enduring at the plate.

At the plate, Turner was exceptional. He hit .342, drove in 40 runs, and hit 13 home runs, which was impressive considering that he’s not a big guy. While his consistent, and at times surprising, production at the plate got the attention of the baseball world, it was his production on the base paths that shocked and took many by storm.

Turner’s speed was what made his play so lethal. By stealing 33 bags in just 73 games, Turner established himself as one of the game’s more aggressive baserunners, as well as one of the game’s quickest players. However, despite his high powering speed, he was mediocre in the outfield.

Considering the fact that Turner had never played the outfield before, there was some doubt regarding whether he’d be able to make the switch from shortstop to the outfield. That doubt became somewhat of a reality.

Despite his speed, Turner struggled with his fly ball judgement at times, and his good, but not great, arm didn’t help his play either. He’s more adapt to playing short than center field, and it appears that he will be moving back to shortstop for at least a few years with the addition of outfielder Adam Eaton.

Eaton gives the Nationals a proven outfielder, rather than inexperienced one. However, Eaton’s presence will provide questions in terms of the Nationals’ every day lineup.

Eaton is a top of the order hitter, but so is Trea Turner, and considering Turner’s success in the leadoff spot, it would seem foolish to move him out of that spot in the order. The Nationals have a number of lefty bats in their lineup, and manager Dusty Baker may opt to move Turner down in the lineup a bit to help balance out the order.

If that’s the case, it needs to be the last time Turner gets moved around in the order.

This year, it’s imperative that the Nationals decide where they want Trea Turner to hit in the lineup going forward. If it’s leadoff, then he must remain in that spot in both the short and long term.

The same goes for any other spot in the order, whether it’s the two spot, or even the three spot because if he gets moved around in the order all year long, the Nationals may not get the production that they’re looking for from him.

Trea Turner is the future of the Washington Nationals. With the growing possibility of Bryce Harper leaving D.C. in two years, the reins of the team may be passed to Turner rather soon.

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That makes it crucial that he gets a permanent spot in the order and in the field to prevent the risk of a drop off, or decline in production this upcoming year, and the one’s to come.

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