There was a variety of dialogue of shortstops in 2021 and rightfully so. Fernando Tatis Jr. is should see TV and presently third amongst certified place gamers in WAR. Throughout the offseason Francisco Lindor was traded to the Mets, who rapidly signed him to a 10-year, $341 million extension. That deal set the stage for rampant conjecture as to the ceiling for potential contracts for the remaining high shortstops beneath 30 who appear to be they are going to take a look at the free agent marketplace for the primary time this winter: Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Trevor Story. As if that wasn’t sufficient drama, two of these gamers (Báez and Story) are presently taking part in on groups that can be sellers over the following week and a half, including a component of commerce hypothesis to a dialog that was already fairly compelling. However as these louder storylines dominate the dialog this season, Trea Turner is quietly constructing on his enhancements from the pandemic-shortened 2020 marketing campaign. The 28-year-old seems like he could also be placing collectively a profession yr. Turner received’t be a free agent till 2023 and the fourth-place Nationals don’t appear to be contenders this season, however it’s nonetheless price taking a more in-depth take a look at how Turner is placing all of it collectively in 2021.
Turner celebrated his birthday three weeks in the past by hitting for the third cycle of his profession. As I used to be engaged on this piece, he began one other recreation with a triple and a house run earlier than being pulled within the later innings when it was clear the Nationals didn’t want him to complete their 18-1 rout of the Marlins. He needed to accept a 2-for-4 evening with 4 RBI.
However this isn’t a couple of handful of video games. Turner made some changes throughout 2020 that he has sustained this season. A type of adjustments is obvious within the video of his cycle, with the house run to proper heart and the triple down the appropriate area line. As lately as 2019, most of Turner’s energy was concentrated to the pull aspect. In 2020, he adjusted his strategy and in line with Federal Baseball even managed to shock his hitting coach Kevin Lengthy and supervisor Dave Martinez with new discovered energy to the other area
“He did some issues that actually stunned me,” [Kevin] Lengthy mentioned early this spring. “One was the quantity of energy that he possessed the opposite means.
“That sort of shocked me. I wasn’t anticipating him which have that sort of reverse area energy. However we noticed that sort of play final yr.”
Turner spoke particularly about “backing the ball up” and “hitting the ball the place it’s pitched” within the feedback Federal Baseball reported. The distinction in strategy is seen once you evaluate Turner’s 2018 at-bats with this season’s. Beneath are two movies of Turner hitting a line drive to proper area. First up, a double from 2018:
Now evaluate that to Turner’s strategy on this single in opposition to the Marlins on Tuesday:
There are delicate however significant variations right here. Turner is ready up a bit decrease in 2021. His palms are additionally decrease relative to the remainder of his stance. He’s obtained loads much less movement previous to his swing. All of this contributes to a flatter swing aircraft in 2021 than he had earlier in his profession. That will appear counterintuitive for individuals who love launch angle, however it’s half of what’s permitting Turner to fulfill pitches the place they’re thrown. The 2018 stroke had a barely higher particular person end result, because it wound up down the road for a double, however don’t let the ends in two at-bats idiot your eye right here. We have to take an even bigger take a look at the entire image, which you’ll be able to see in these Statcast spray charts from 2019, ’20 and ’21:
That energy to all fields has Turner two house runs away from the primary 20/20 season in his profession with 10 days left in July. Stolen bases could also be more and more uncommon in baseball, however they don’t seem to be uncommon for Turner, who has 191 in his seven major-league seasons. Turner has at all times been quick. Since he entered the league, he’s been within the 99th or a hundredth percentile in dash velocity yearly. No, the elusive a part of the 20/20 season has at all times been energy for Turner. However what’s particular concerning the season Turner is placing collectively is that projection programs consider this energy surge is actual and have him flirting with a 30/30 season if he stays wholesome in 2021. You possibly can see a few of his choose stats with the potential remainder of season projections beneath:
Turner Season to Date and ROS Projections
|2021 thus far||392||18||20||.319||.370||.531||140||.385||4.2|
And Turner’s energy seems to not solely be actual but in addition enhancing, as you’ll be able to see in his 15-game rolling ISO beneath. I used to be significantly that after a short dip in Might and June, Turner’s energy truly reached a brand new profession excessive in July for a month with at the least 50 plate appearances:
In keeping with Statcast, Turner’s onerous hit charge has improved notably since he got here into the league in 2015, however he actually kicked it as much as one other stage in 2021. He’s presently within the 82nd percentile of main league hitters by onerous hit charge, which is a big enchancment on his earlier excessive water mark of 71st percentile from 2017, and considerably higher than the 58th percentile he put up final season. This doesn’t look like associated to a extra selective strategy as a result of Turner’s much-improved 13.9% strikeout charge from 2020 hasn’t held in 2021, although he’s posted a still-respectable 18.6% that’s extra consistent with profession norms. It does look like associated to a capability to drive the ball with extra energy to all fields. He nonetheless strikes out lower than 20 % of the time whereas hitting the ball more durable and for extra line drives. Turner and the Nationals will completely take these outcomes:
Turner has at all times been an elite speedster who additionally had above common energy (his profession ISO is .188). However whereas we’ve all been targeted on expiring contracts and commerce season, the Nationals shortstop discovered a means to enhance his energy and kick it as much as the following stage. The result’s Turner placing all of it collectively for one of the best season of an already good younger profession. The small tweaks he made in his strategy and swing have helped him unlock plus energy to all fields. These tweaks have turned Turner right into a official 30/30 menace in 2021, and I think about it might make any extension the Nationals hope to ink with their shortstop dearer than it may need been a yr in the past.