Phillies Opposition Roadblock: Washington Nationals

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Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Adam Eaton (2) is congratulated by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) after scoring a run against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Adam Eaton (2) is congratulated by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) after scoring a run against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 6, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (7) throws to first against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (7) throws to first against the Miami Marlins during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Most people expected to see Bryce Harper, but I had it easy in the first series. I thought this would be a much more interesting pick for the 2017 homecoming series at CBP. Trea Turner is one of the most exciting players in baseball, and no one even realizes it quite yet.

Let me put this into perspective for all of you (who I appreciate taking the time to read this). Turner began his career as a 22 year old kid. He went through Washington’s system as a shortstop. When he got to the big club, the brass decided they had a larger need in centerfield. No big deal. Just move Trea out there.

What did the kid do as he switched from one of the most difficult positions to play on the field to an equally important one? Glad you asked. In just a hair over 300 at bats, he slashed .342/.370/.567 with 13 homers out of the leadoff spot. He crossed homeplate 53 times and swiped 33 bags along the way.

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  • Even worse? The speedster shredded Phillies pitchers to the tune of .320/.346/.600 with two bombs in 25 at bats. He has not done enough yet to be given the title, “Phillies Killer” like his teammates Harper, Murphy, and Zimmerman, but the kid is off to a pretty solid start on his way to becoming one.

    He did all of this with a position switch. Now, he is back to his comfort zone and, with hitting at the top of the order in front of the likes of Eaton and Harper, he will have more pitches to hit. If he finds himself on base, teams have to worry about his speed, but at the same time, can’t lose sight of a dangerous Eaton, an MVP candidate in Harper, and the 2016 NL batting champ runner up (by a point), Daniel Murphy.

    The Phils have to keep him off base. The righty loves hitting the ball the other way. He likes fastballs on the outer part of the plate. If the Phils want to beat him with fastball, it should be in on the hands. Mixing breaking and offspeed stuff to keep Turner off balance should help, but his struggles on fastballs on his hands should stabilize him this weekend.

    Packed with star power, the Nationals will be depending on this kid to get them going every night. The Phillies will be focused on holding the 23 year old at bay.

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