Sitting in last place of the International League North Division, the Syracuse Chiefs were in need of a major boost. A shake-up. Perhaps a big name prospect.
Enter Trea Turner, the #3 prospect in the Washington Nationals system.
Officially according to MLB, Turner was recently acquired by the Washington Nationals on June 14th, 2015. Unofficially however, the Nats traded for Turner on December 18th, 2014 in a three-team trade, sending Steven Souza Jr. and pitcher Travis Ott to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays sent Wil Myers to San Diego.
The holdup was due to the ‘Pete Incaviglia’ rule, which prohibits players from being traded within the first year after they’ve been drafted. Turner was drafted on June 5, 2014, signed June 13, so he couldn’t officially be moved until June 14, 2015.
Turner started the year in AA San Antonio in the Padres system and tore the cover off the ball to the tune of .322/.385/.471. For good measure, Turner threw in 13 doubles, three triples, and five big flies. His hitting stroke continued after the trade was completed, hitting .359 with four doubles and a triple in 10 games with the Nationals affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators.
Then came the call. AAA Syracuse.
The jump from AA to Triple A is a big one, and Turner has had to make some adjustments. Going hitless in his first 17 AB’s, Turner got his first hit on July 1, a two-run home run of Louisville Reds southpaw David Holmberg
While Turner’s introduction to AAA wasn’t as smooth as some were predicting, he has been making adjustments at the plate and having better AB’s. Turner’s biggest tool is his speed, as he can turn a single into a double, go first to third on a single, and steal a base. The Florida native has a good eye for the strike zone, and projects to be a leadoff hitter sooner rather than later.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (New York Yankees) outfielder Aaron Judge has seemingly hit his stride in Triple A as of late. Judge went 4-4 with a walk against Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia Phillies) on June 30th, and followed that up with a 2-4 outing July 1st. Since his Triple A promotion, Judge is hitting .303 with one homerun and five RBI.
Former LSU ace and 2014 first-round pick Aaron Nola is making a mockery of the International League. In his three starts in Triple A Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia Phillies), all Nola has done is go 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA. Nola has only given up 15 hits, given five free passes, and struck out 18.
Catch him while you can. With the MLB trade deadline approaching, expect the Phillies to move a certain starting pitcher or two. Nola will certainly get the call to the big club.
**For the week ending June 28th, Louisville Reds (Cincinnati Reds) outfielder Yorman Rodriguez was named International League Hitter of the Week after hitting .444 with a double, two homeruns, 12 RBI in seven games. Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins) righty Tyler Duffey was names International League Pitcher of the Week, with a 2-0 record, 0.00 ERA, 1 Complete Game, 14 1/3 IP, and 10 strikeouts.**