The Argument for Trea Turner

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There isn’t a consensus number-one pick or even a consensus top-three this early, but the guy we can bank on being a consensus top-five pick is Trea Turner. And he’s worth it, as you know.

This post is more a message of affirmation than a persuasive one, obviously, but Turner just signed a huge deal with the Phillies changing a couple of vital variables in the Turner owners’ favor.

First, there’s Turner’s BABIP. Something we usually hold against a guy when it’s high. But Turner controls more of his BABIP than just about everyone in the league. It’s .344 for his career — .351 since 2019, with no seasons under .342. The level of consistency here is staggering and telling of a unicorn.

We start with the BABIP because Turner really took off when his BABIP did. Since 2019, he’s slashed .311/.361/.509 with a .370 wOBA, a .198 ISO, and a 42.8% hard hit rate. That slugging percentage is indicative of a guy who isn’t just slappy. His 26 home runs per 162 games since 2019 is coupled with 31 doubles.

There is actually a park downgrade for Turner, going from Dodger Stadium to Citizens Bank Park, according to EV Analytics. L.A. has a 116 home run factor and a 100 doubles factor to the Philly 109 and 96. Philadelphia is still really strong for home runs, though. And, again, Turner is in a class where he creates so much of his own fortune with calculated aggression.

That aggression is most displayed in his stolen bases. Since his first full season in 2016, Turner leads MLB in stolen bases with 228. And age isn’t slowing him down. At age 28, he led the league in 2021 with 32 steals with five times caught. In 2022, he ran less often, but improved his efficiency, succeeding at steal 27 out of 30 times. The steals are always crucial to determining Turner’s value. We should be even more conscious of them now.

  • J.T. Realmuto came into 2022 averaging 14 stolen base attempts per 162 games. He had 22 attempts in 2022.
  • Kyle Schwarber came into 2022 averaging six stolen base attempts per 162 games. He had 11 attempts in 2022.

If the 31-year-old catcher and the 29-year-old slugger face demands to run, we can be damn sure that a 29-30-year-old Turner will get the go sign a lot. Maybe even more than he’s ever had the green light in his career.

This sounds crazy for Turner’s age, but the Phillies are a unique squad by this measure. Extreme enough that they matter in terms of boosting Turner’s steals.

The Phillies are also a really good power team. Overall, they’re kinda just fine. But the top of the order — and Turner will highly likely hit in the top-two — is stacked. Some mix of Bryce Harper (138 wRC+) when he returns, Realmuto (128), Schwarber (128), Rhys Hoskins (122), and Darick Hall (120) will be surrounding and following Turner. With Turner’s ability to get on base, get himself into scoring position in different ways, and the guys with the job of driving him in, Turner should score a ton of runs in this lineup.

Turner compiles the points. He always does. And he fills the categories. He always does. He also can be traded very easily for power when we need more in-season.

Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player, while contributing to RotoGrinders and FanGraphs, as well as serving as a part-time political science professor in Chicago, IL. He’s been playing fantasy sports since 1996 and entered the DFS realm in 2014, currently playing high-stakes MLB and NFL cash games and GPPs. He is a Chicago Tribune and SB Nation alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.

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