By the numbers, Trea Turner showing he can stay with the best leadoff hitters

Trea Turner stole two bases in the first inning Friday to help begin the scoring for the Nationals in their 4-1 win over the Mets.

Playing center field, Turner has excelled in the leadoff spot with 20 stolen bases in 45 games this season.

Turner is the first rookie in franchise historyto steal at least 20 bases since Mike Lansing stole 23 for the Expos in 1993.

Turner-swing-red-sidebar.jpgWe had this discussion on Wednesday at “Nats Xtra,” with Ray Knight asking to name some of the top leadoff men in the history of baseball.

If you go to Baseball-Reference.com, and look at the career OPS numbers for leadoff hitters, the top five are: Rickey Henderson (.822), Craig Biggio (.817), Tim Raines (.813), Brady Anderson (.804) and Paul Molitor (.804). Kenny Lofton (.794) is sixth.

Currently, the 23-year-old Turner’s OPS in 72 games is .854.

If sorted by all-time steals, Henderson is leader obviously at 1,384, then Lou Brock, Raines, Lofton and Brett Butler.

If you divide stolen bases by plate appearances, the list looks like this: Henderson (.105), Brock (.088), Raines (.089), Lofton (.069), Butler (.057) and Juan Pierre (.072). Jose Reyes is at .069.

After just 243 career plate appearances, Turner’s stolen base/plate appearance average is .091.

Henderson’s stolen bases per game average was .480. Brock was .401. Raines was .413.

Currently, through 72 major league games, Turner’s average is .306. This season, that average is .444.

Of course, he has not even played half of a full major league season yet, but Turner’s OPS of .854 and his stolen bases per plate appearance mark of .091 stack up with best at his spot in the history of the game. This is not to say he has reached that level, but it gives you a good idea of what he is capable of and what he has been able to do over the last 45 games.

It is fun to project what Turner might mean to the Nats offense for seasons to come. He certainly demonstrated to Mets catcher Rene Rivera what he can do to alter a game when he gets on base. Turner should be able to replicate a performance like that every game well into October.

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