As our offseason coverage kicks into high gear, we’re going to review each significant player on the Nationals roster. We continue today with Trea Turner, who after missing six weeks with a broken finger returned to play every day and produced despite lingering effects.
PLAYER REVIEW: TREA TURNER
Age on opening day 2020: 26
How acquired: Traded from Padres with Joe Ross for Steven Souza Jr. and Travis Ott, who went to Rays in three-team deal, December 2014
MLB service time: 3 years, 135 days
2019 salary: $3.725 million
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2020, free agent in 2023
2019 stats: 122 G, 569 PA, 521 AB, 96 R, 155 H, 37 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 35 SB, 5 CS, 43 BB, 113 SO, .298 AVG, .353 OBP, .497 SLG, .850 OPS, 113 OPS+, -10 DRS, 3.5 fWAR, 2.4 bWAR
2019 postseason stats: 17 G, 79 PA, 73 AB, 10 R, 17 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 15 SO, .233 AVG, .291 OBP, .329 SLG, .620 OPS
Quotable: “I think everybody in this clubhouse envisioned this exact thing right here. We talked about it when we were 19-31. We talked about how we were going to laugh at everybody else outside of this clubhouse for everything that they said about us. And we are here now.” - Turner, after the Nats clinched a wild card berth on Sept. 24
2019 analysis: It took only five days for Turner’s season to hit its first major speed bump. On a night when all of the attention at Nationals Park was on Bryce Harper for his first game back in town as a member of the Phillies, Turner became the bigger story when he couldn’t pull his bunt attempt back from a high-and-tight fastball and wound up breaking his right index finger.
It would be six weeks before Turner returned, and even then he was hampered. For the rest of the season, he gripped his bat with only nine fingers, leaving the injured digit off the handle because of the pain he still experienced upon making contact. Even by the end of the World Series, Turner revealed that he couldn’t fully straighten his finger, making his performance from May through October all the more remarkable.
Turner got more productive as the season progressed, especially in the power department. He hit 10 of his 19 homers in August and September, batting .316 with an .884 OPS during those final two months, though he cooled off come playoff time.
Whether it was a byproduct of his injury or not, Turner didn’t have his best season in the field or on the bases. He was charged with 13 errors in only 122 games at shortstop, and six of those came on throws (more than his previous three big league seasons combined). And though he was successful on an impressive 87.5 percent of stolen base attempts, he swiped only 35 total bags, a somewhat surprisingly low number given his speed and the urging of manager Davey Martinez prior to opening day to push the envelope more.
2020 outlook: There’s no disputing Turner’s importance to the Nationals, and at a time when they are in danger of losing the rest of their starting infield there is real comfort in knowing their shortstop is under team control for three more seasons.
Turner will hope his finger is fully healed by the time he reports for spring training, and that he no longer needs to compensate for it. If that proves true, he could get off to a hotter start at the plate and make an early push to top the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career.
In the field, Turner could be working with several new faces, so it may fall upon him to serve as the de facto captain of the infield, a role he seems comfortable holding.