Phillies' Trea Turner still looking to turn the corner

by Marc Narducci | Aug 2, 2023
Phillies' Trea Turner still looking to turn the corner
After starring in the World Baseball Classic, fans were anticipating a big debut season for Phillies shortstop, Trea Turner, who signed an 11-year $300 million free agent contract.

In the WBC, Turner was part of the U.S. team that advanced to the finals before losing to Japan 3-2, in the championship game.

In six WBC games, Turner went 9 for 23 (.391) with five home runs, 11 RBIs and six runs scored. His OPS was 1.493 but he struck out five times in the six games.

Still, this appeared to be the perfect launching pad for his Phillies career and there was so much expected of Turner. 

Turner entered the season a career .302 hitter with an .842 OPS and 122 OPS+.

Last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Turner earned his second All-Star appearance. He batted .298/.343/.466 with an .806 OPS and 124 OPS+. 

Turner also batted .333 (6 for 18) in a four-game National League Division Series loss to the San Diego Padres. 

He turned 30 in June and should have many prime seasons left, but this year hasn’t been one of them.

Through Sunday, Turner had a slash line of .242/.294/.379 and has been struggling with swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson has been very supportive of Turner, but recently gave him a game off and dropped Turner from second to seventh in the batting order for their July 29 game. 

The next day, Turner was moved up to fifth but the game resulted in a 6-4 loss at Pittsburgh.

The other part about Turner is that he hasn’t been very good defensively. According to Fangraphs, Turner began the week with -4 defensive runs saved.

That is the second worst of his career with a personal worst of -5 defensive runs saved in 2020. Through Sunday, he had committed 13 errors. This seems predictable, however, as his career high for errors was 16 committed last season.

If Turner is providing only average or below average defense, he must produce offensively. 

Fans may remember the same thing happening to Nick Castellanos last year. He joined the Phillies after signing a five-year, $100 million contract and was inconsistent all season with a slash line of .263/.305/.389.

This year Castellanos improved to the point of earning an All-Star berth, but since the All-Star break, he has slumped mightily, and his stats are heading toward last year’s slash line. Through Sunday, Castellanos was at .273/.316/.444.

Turner’s current season is surprising as he seemed like somebody who could handle the pressure of playing in Philadelphia. This is somebody who helped Washington win a World Series in 2019 while playing with a broken finger that wasn’t fully healed and despite that scored a team-high 10 runs during the postseason. 

Author: Marc Narducci


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