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Washington Nationals prospect Trea Turner: Scouting report and projection

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Everything you need to know about Nationals top shortstop prospect.

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Perhaps best-known for his inclusion in the Will Myers trade as the infamous "player to be named later", Trea Turner has made quite a name for himself this season after finally moving over to the Washington Nationals organization. Recently promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, it may be time to get excited about the young, two-way shortstop. We know he’s talented, but let’s try to uncover just how good Trea Turner can be in the majors by looking at his swing, plate approach, power, defense, and speed.

Swing

At the plate, Turner showcases a level and downhill stroke which allows him to make excellent contact and produce line drives. He begins his swing by leaning onto his back foot, then transfers that weight forward in order to generate power. Even with a decent amount of movement prior to contact, Turner is able to achieve a strong balanced position that keeps his swing linear and simple, while also allowing him to cover the whole plate and spray hits to all fields, something he has done with remarkable success this year.

Capping off an excellent stroke, Trea is able to get the bathead out in front and make terrific extension after contact, leading me to believe that he could hit a lot of doubles in the major leagues. I am not in love with Turner’s bat speed, it looks closer to average to me. However, the rest of his swing is so sound that I have no trouble projecting him as an average to above-average hitter in the bigs.

Plate Approach

Trea sports advanced plate discipline which allow him to maximize his hit tool. Thus far in his pro career, Turner owns a .381 OBP, and I could see him post similar marks during his prime years. Turner’s balanced stance forces him to stay back and behind the baseball, giving the 22-year-old a chance to recognize breaking balls and restrain himself from lunging forward. A 100 walk season may not be entirely out of the cards for Turner.

FV Hit Grade: 55

Power

Power is the tool where I am most bearish on Turner. His swing’s linear nature bodes well for line drives. Often, though, I see Trea hit down on the ball, something that does not lead to very many home runs. Turner has the strength and talent to pop one out every now and then, but don’t expect him to hit more than 8-10 home runs over the course of a season.  

Power Grade: 35/40

Defense

Turner’s plus speed, premiere athleticism, and solid fundamentals give him every chance to stick at shortstop when he reaches the majors. Any prospect who can defend shortstop at even an average level already has major league value.

However, I think Turner has the potential to develop even further, perhaps into a plus fielder in time. From the video, the most impressive part of Trea’s defense is his smoothness and preparedness. He gets excellent reads on the ball immediately following contact, and gracefully utilizes his speed tool to correctly position himself. Once he reaches the ball, he stays low and athletic to the ground, allowing his soft hands gobble up the baseball in a way that makes it look like the ball is funneling into his glove. Finally, his near-perfect footwork and above-average arm permit him to complete most plays with ease.

FV Field Grade: 60

FV Arm Grade: 55

Speed

Given his plus baseball IQ and already impressive stolen base totals (he’s swiped 15 bags in 78 games this year), I expect Turner to be a 30-35 base guy in the major leagues. His long strides could keep him as a stole-base threat for a long time.

FV Speed Grade: 70 now, 60 later

Projection: All-Star shortstop

Like Nick Gordon, Trea Turner is the type of player where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Turner does not stand out in any one particular area, besides maybe his speed, but he owns above-average to plus tools in every facet of the game. I think he will develop into a very valuable top-of-the-order bat for Washington. He reaches base often, whether by hit or walk, creates havoc when he gets there, and can man shortstop at a plus level. Such an all-around game is a very rare thing in this age of baseball.