Washington Nationals: Trea Turner deserves more appreciation

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals looks on after stealing second base during the second inning at Nationals Park on August 02, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals looks on after stealing second base during the second inning at Nationals Park on August 02, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals are almost as star-studded as teams come these days. But perhaps Trea Turner goes underappreciated among the rest of the stars.

The Washington Nationals have had plenty of players deserving of accolades and praise throughout the years. But due to all of the talent on the roster, it is easy for Nats fans to forget how good shortstop Trea Turner really is.

While injuries have been an issue for Turner at times in his career, he has managed to improve offensively every year he has been with the Nationals. 2018 was Turners best statistical year by far and he began to pick up some national recognition in baseball circles.

He even found himself in the running for the National League Final Vote for the All-Star game, but unfortunately, he was not chosen. Turner’s career season flew under the radar last season for a variety of reasons.

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Bryce Harper‘s struggles in the first half of the season stole most of the headlines, and Juan Soto burst onto the scene in the second half. Looking back on a 2018 season that was an overall disappointment for Nationals fans, one of the obvious bright spots are the numbers that Turner was able to put up.

On the surface, Turner hit for a .271 average with 19 home runs. While his .271 batting average may not be an eye-popping number for some, 2018 was the first time Turner played in over 100 games and had more than 500 at-bats.

To build on that, Turner actually played in every game last year while leading the league with 664 at-bats. He also led the National League in both plate appearances with 740, and stolen bases with 43, while he posting career highs with 19 homers, 73 RBIs, and 180 hits in 2018.

The 2018 season proved that when healthy, Trea Turner is one of the most productive players in the NL and that he at least belongs in the conversation when discussing the best shortstops in the league. With the potential departure of superstar Harper, more attention will be on Turner in 2019, both from the fans and opposing teams.

Even if the Nationals are able to keep Harper in D.C., Turner will be still poised for a great 2019 campaign. Baseball Reference projections for Turner’s 2019 season have him slashing .281/.345/.444 with 17 HRs, 65 RBIs, and 41 SBs. These numbers should have him in the All-Star conversation, which would be well deserved.

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As long as he is able to stay healthy and, on the field, Washington Nationals fans should look for Trea Turner to be a spark at the top of the lineup in 2019.

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