1) Trea Turner – Washington Nationals
Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals tops the list in the NL East after an incredible rookie campaign that began in the second half of the 2016 season.
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The National League Rookie of the Year Award finalist put up incredible numbers at the plate with a .342/.370/.567 slash line and putting up 13 home runs, 14 doubles, 33 stolen bases, 40 RBI, 53 runs, and 105 hits in just 73 games. And these stats only partially encapsulate his lightning speed around the bases.
To really bring that home, remember that that Turner also had eight triples in his brief time after the All-Star break.
Simply put, that is amazing for any big league player, much less a rookie. Turner played the bulk of his first campaign with the Nationals at center field so it is difficult to project any type of defensive prediction for him during his first season as the everyday shortstop for Washington. That being said, Turner showed impressive fielding, range, and speed in the outfield.
While it is a risk to project too much from a rookie campaign, Turner’s eye raising stats at the plate, only reinforces the optimism around his future in the big leagues. That being said, if this were a ranking purely based on his fielding, Turner would be a notch or two farther down the list.
In 71 games as shortstop in Triple-A Syracuse last season, Turner at nine errors , however that is a marked improvement over 2015 when he had 11 errors in just 44 games at shortstop for the Chiefs. All of that being said, Turner will likely continue to improve in this area over the coming years as he gets more comfortable in his new role stalking the middle infield.
Turner will be an exciting player to watch in 2017 – especially now that he will operate in a batting lineup that will place him somewhere in the mix with recently acquired Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper. That combination of batters at the top of the lineup should put impressive numbers and runs.