When I heard of the Dodgers-Nationals trade just before the deadline, I was ecstatic. Sure, the Dodgers were letting go of top prospects Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, but the return of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner was hard to believe. Now, I can talk all day about Scherzer’s impact in LA, but today I will be talking about the new Dodgers infielder.
The Dodgers game against the Mets on Friday displayed Turner’s top-notch abilities. On the fourth pitch of the game, Turner hit a blooper to right center—a hit that would normally be a single. But with Turner’s wheels, he easily reached second. To illustrate this statistically, the bloop was hit at 82 mph. On batted balls hit at that speed this year, 17.9% were singles, while 3.4% were doubles; in other words, hitters were five times more likely to obtain one base on Turner’s batted ball than two bases. Turner simply shouldn’t have been at second.
Then, he tagged to third base on a Max Muncy fly ball. But the ball wasn’t hit deep at all: 336 feet to center fielder Brandon Nimmo. And it’s not like Nimmo has a poor arm, as his ARM (a Fangraphs statistic) is above average in center this year. Turner simply shouldn’t have been at third.
Turner ended his trip around the bases by easily scoring on a Justin Turner rollover to shortstop. Although many teams would pull their infielders into the infield grass line to stop the run from scoring with one out, the Mets knew it was risky, considering Trea’s speed.
Of course, this is only one example of Turner’s impact, but he has really helped the Dodgers close the gap in the division race with the San Francisco Giants.
Trea Turner’s first game with the Dodgers was on August 6th. From that date on, “Los Dodgers” are 11-2 (.846). Before Turner arrived in blue, the Dodgers were 67-44 (.604). Is Trea solely responsible for this drastic change? No, but he has been one of the main forces behind the hot streak.
There’s something about Trea’s playing style that stands in contrast with the Dodgers sluggers such as Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Will Smith, and more. His scrappy hits and his ability to get on base and score when you’d least expect it (see the video below of him scoring from first on an infield hit) has revitalized many Dodgers fans’ faith in the team.