Trea Turner has been leading off for the Washington Nationals in Adam Eaton’s absence, but he should hit second when Eaton returns.
In Adam Eaton and Trea Turner, the Washington Nationals have two leadoff-type hitters. While Turner has a bright future as a leadoff hitter, most people believe that Eaton is currently better-suited for the role.
Dave Martinez comes from this school of thought, which made Eaton the leadoff hitter and Turner the sixth hitter to begin the season. However, Eaton has since been placed on the disabled list.
Throughout Eaton’s absence, Turner has been Martinez’s choice for leadoff hitter. While his blazing speed makes him a threat on the bases, he strikes out too much and does not see enough pitches to bat leadoff at this stage of his career.
More from District on Deck
- Latest DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code in Maryland: Bet $5, Win $200 Guaranteed
- Nationals Claim Jeter Downs Off Waivers
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
For those reasons, Eaton should return to the leadoff spot upon his return. But, instead of moving back to the six-hole, Turner should bat second.
With Turner in the two-hole, the Nats have two leadoff-type hitters at the top of the lineup to attempt to get on base in front of Bryce Harper.
If Eaton and Turner both reach base, they can create chaos with their speed, thus creating run-scoring opportunities for the heart of the order.
With Eaton and Turner at the top of the lineup, the Nats’ offense would receive a much-needed spark. The offense has been a bit lackluster over the last few weeks, which will improve when Eaton returns, but it could explode with Eaton and Turner at the top.
For a team struggling to produce runs, a spark at the top of the lineup could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Nats have also led the majors in first inning runs. This has mostly been without Eaton and Turner batting back-to-back, but it could improve even further with them at the top.
Getting out to an early lead allows the starting pitcher to settle in, which could also alleviate some stress from the bullpen.
The bullpen has been overworked out of necessity to begin the year, which has led to diminished results for several reliable relievers. If the starters are able to settle in early with a big lead and pitch deep into the game, Martinez will not have to rely so heavily on the bullpen.
Stating that one managerial decision could affect the entire team may be a bit far-fetched, but having Eaton and Turner at the top of the lineup would drastically improve the offense and could benefit the pitching staff as well.
Eaton and Turner batted atop the lineup before Eaton’s injury last year, and it worked wonders. When Eaton returns, Martinez should consider giving it a shot.