Washington Nationals: Trea Turner turning up the heat in September

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-run home run against the New York Mets during the third inning at Nationals Park on September 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 22: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-run home run against the New York Mets during the third inning at Nationals Park on September 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Even though the Washington Nationals season ended, nobody told Trea Turner who continues to stay hot at the plate as fall rolls in at Nationals Park.

Going under the radar as one of the Washington Nationals more valuable players is shortstop Trea Turner. He’s had an excellent season on both sides of the ball that seems to be going under the radar with the likes of Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Max Scherzer getting the plaudits.

On the season, he currently sports a .273/.346/.415 slash line with 18 home runs and 43 stolen bases. But in September, he’s turning up the heat even further and looking to finish a great season on a high note.

This month, he’s upped his slash to .293/.398/.435 while putting up a wRC+ of 129, and we’re seeing the Turner that we saw start to blossom at the start of the year. He’s fueled that excellent .398 OBP with 15 walks to 18 strikeouts, once again showing the patience that will give him a convincing case to be the leadoff hitter next season.

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Something that had been a concern at times this year was Turner’s stolen bases going through long droughts. From April 30th to May 30th he swiped just two bags, and then from June 30th to July 27th, he didn’t steal a single base.

Thankfully, in September, he’s found his base stealing legs again, swiping nine bases so far as he looks to get that total up towards 50 by the end of the season. That sort of pace would pan out to 66 stolen bases per 162 games, which is the kind of number we expected at the start of the season.

Turner has also been excellent on the defensive side of the ball as fall rolls in as well, as he’s looking to capture a gold glove. According to FanGraphs Defensive Rating, he’s been the second-best defensive shortstop in the NL and sixth in all of baseball this month. And while the defensive hardware is a long shot, he’s certainly out himself in the discussion.

His stellar contributions on offense and defense have led him to have the highest WAR among shortstops in the NL and tied for tops in the majors with Adalberto Mondesi in September. This lifts him above NL all-star Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies for the National League lead among shortstops in WAR over the whole season too, with Turner at 4.9 and Story at 4.6.

Also this year, Turner has also appeared in every single game and has started 153 out of the 158. The only other players on course to appear in 162 games are Freddy Galvis, Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis. It’s very rare these days that players appear in every single game and is something that should be appreciated as such, especially for someone who’s struggled through bad injuries in the last couple of years.

dark. Next. Harper or Rendon a higher priority?

There’s been a lot of debate about Trea Turner and whether he’s the superstar type player the Washington Nationals hoped. But with an excellent September so far, he’s certainly emphasizing that he is living up to the hype in 2018.

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