Washington Nationals: How Good Is Trea Turner At Shortstop?


Sunday night, Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner was ranked fourth on MLB Network’s Top 10 show by the Shredder. Is that ranking too high?

Heading into the 2017 season, one of the exciting storylines to watch is Trea Turner playing shortstop for the Washington Nationals on a full time basis. Turner adjusted well to center field last season, but now he gets to play his natural position. The question now in his first full season is how good is Turner?

Last Sunday night, MLB Network continued their top ten rankings by position shows by looking at the shortstops. By the rankings of “The Shredder”, which looks at a period of a few seasons, Turner ranked fourth in all of baseball behind Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager:

Turner had a great season for the Washington Nationals last year. In just 73 games, the 23-year-old hit .342 with 13 home runs, 40 RBI’s, had an on-base percentage of .370, and stole 33 bases. He ended up finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting to Seager, who was number one on the Shredder’s list.

More from District on Deck

With the Danny Espinosa trade to the Angels, it has opened the door for Turner to be the shortstop. While I think Turner can end up being a great player, I think it’s too early to put him at number four on the top ten shortstops list.

For one, Turner needs to play more games than the eight he has had at shortstop over the last two seasons. While 44 games is a small sample size, he did have 11 errors at triple-A Syracuse in 2015.

Errors don’t give the whole picture, but it will be interesting to watch the chemistry between him and Daniel Murphy as a double play combo. Espinosa stayed at the position despite his struggles at the plate last season because of his great defense while Murphy is still a below average defender.

If I was putting this list together, there are two shortstops that should be ahead of Turner. One is Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants, who has won two straight gold gloves and has 84 RBI’s each of the last two seasons. The other is Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox, who has won back-to-back Silver Slugger awards.

Looking ahead to this season, it will be interesting to watch Turner at shortstop and the impact he can have for a full season. It is clear that when he came up to the big leagues, he was the answer for the Washington Nationals at the leadoff spot with both his speed and his power.

Next: Where Does Eaton Rank Among NL East Center Fielders?

Now the question is whether or not Turner will fall into that “sophomore slump”. There will be high expectations on him this season to contribute at the level or even better than he did in 2016. While I do think Turner is a top-tier shortstop, he has to do a lot more at the position before he would be in my top five.