What to expect in Trea Turner's first season as Phillies shortstop
By Julian Bravo
Trea Turner has been the nonstop talk of town and around the country when he led Team USA and the entire 2023 World Baseball Classic with five home runs. In seven spring training games, the new Philadelphia Phillies infielder has slugged a pair of home runs, along with seven RBI.
Before joining the majors, Turner was not quite known for his bat. By looking at his draft scouting report from nearly a decade ago, Turner's hitting score was 45/55, while his power came out to be 25/35. The top MLB player comparison Bleacher Report gave Turner was Orlando Cabrera. Mike Rosenbaum, at the time, wrote:
"Though it's an obscure comparison, Turner reminds me of Orlando Cabrera due to his projection as a long-term shortstop with good defensive chops, plus speed and ability to hit for a solid batting average. Turner won't provide as much over-the-fence power as O-Cab did during his 15-year career, but he still could turn in seasons with double-digit home runs during his prime."
Notice he said Turner can build up to double-digit home runs during his prime. While Turner is a long-term shortstop, the Phillies' 11-year project must continue to improve his plate discipline to hit for raw power. It is one of the likely reasons why the Los Angeles Dodgers replaced him. Turner's plate discipline just does not match up to Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and J. D. Martinez, among others. Now, Miguel Rojas gives them a night's rest based on his versatility, range, and fielding percentage — which ranked the best among shortstops last season.
Turner's chase rate was his worst last year — especially outside the zone with a 36.4% O-Swing. His reactionary time, minimal counts, and plate approach need work as he becomes older. Rojas, on the other hand, is 34 and has experience in the Dodgers system. Rojas may turn out to be a really good bargain past his prime.
For now, let's rejoice while we can. Phillies fans can anticipate Bryce Harper and Turner back together in their prime years, vying for the 2023 World Series championship. Based on his performances already this spring, expect Turner to fill his former Washington Nationals teammate's shoes just fine.