Washington Nationals: Trea Turner’s 2017 report card


The Washington Nationals shortstop suffered growing pains in his second year. But, Trea Turner offered a glimpse of his future. How did he grade?

For the Washington Nationals, the first full season of Trea Turner did not go as planned.

A wrist injury shelved the shortstop for nearly half the season. Adjustments recovering, and feeling the pressure early on, limited his abilities. From a raw statistical view, you could almost say 2017 was disappointing.

Turner struggled early on behind Adam Eaton in the lineup and after Eaton’s torn ACL. By the time Turner hit for the cycle in Denver against the Colorado Rockies, the hitter we fell in love with in 2016 returned.

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No question Turner did not meet the lofty expectations we, and himself, carried into the season. Still, he was a net positive for the Nats.

June, before the injury, and September gave us a glimpse of what we should expect from Turner. He slashed .298/.370/.404 in June with 22 stolen bases. After the wrist healed in September, the slash line reads .290/.361/.505 with nine base swipes.

Overall, Turner stole 46 bases. Despite missing 12 weeks, that number was third-best for the year in the National League. Over 98 games, he scored 75 times. Solid numbers.

(We will forget about his post-season. It never happened. Shh.)

When you add his learning to play shortstop at a major-league level, Turner played above the level of a player his age. He scored a 2.9 o-WAR and a 0.2 d-WAR at Baseball Reference. If 2016 never happened, we would drool over the numbers he put up.

He has room to grow as a player. Those jump throws from short are heart-stopping. Turner strikes out way too often for a top-of-the-order hitter, 80 times in 412 at-bats. He needs to draw longer appearances at the plate and earn walks. Finally, he must not pressure himself thinking he has to do everything.

Yep, Turner underwent the dreaded sophomore slump.

However, for a young player in the middle of turning potential into reality, Turner’s season was solid. With Eaton healthy in the lineup next year, perhaps some of the added pressure comes off and Turner can let the game come to him.

There are two schools of thought for grades here. If you go based on expectations, this was a bad season. The Turner from 2016 was rarely on display.

That view is harsh. Although rough around the edges, Turner’s ability to steal bases shone through. His defense is solid, and he is a threat for double-digit doubles, triples and homers.

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Turner earns a “B-“ overall.