Home / Sports / Trea Turner has become one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops

Trea Turner has become one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops

Trea Turner didn’t hesitate. He charged the groundball at complete velocity, corralled it along with his glove and started his signature defensive play: the bounce throw. He has leaned on it to make tricky performs over and over this season, nearly all the time seamlessly. Simplest this time, within the backside of the primary inning at PNC Park on Wednesday, Turner’s switch went awry. He dropped the ball and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ leadoff hitter, Josh Harrison, reached base.

Some would say the bounce was once needless. Maximum shortstops don’t bounce to make that play — jumps are most often restricted to Jeter-esque performs within the hollow. However Turner isn’t maximum shortstops. The bounce throw isn’t for taste issues. It’s an adjustment he felt he had to incorporate during the last couple years to adapt into what some statistics point out he’s turn out to be this season: the most productive shortstop within the Nationwide League.

“Return and take a look at the tape and inform me what number of unhealthy throws I’ve made,” the 25-year-old Turner stated earlier than Wednesday’s sport. “No one is aware of what number of unhealthy throws I’ve made. No one is aware of what number of unhealthy throws I’ve made and I will be able to inform you: one.”

Defensive stats are fickle. The science isn’t actual, no less than now not but. Good enough pattern sizes take more than one seasons. As a way to only take a look at them to guage a participant’s defensive efficiency the use of the to be had information earlier than the all-star spoil isn’t the most productive approach. But it surely’s a measuring stick and the bare eye helps Turner, whose arm power was once again and again wondered earlier than turning into a longtime large leaguer, has no less than progressed considerably in his 2nd complete season as a major-league shortstop.

In the event you’re to consider the defensive stats, Turner entered Thursday with 7.three defensive runs stored — 5th amongst essential league shortstops in the back of Andrelton Simmons, Jose Iglesias, Francisco Lindor and Marcus Semien — regardless of making 9 mistakes. Final season, his three.four defensive runs ranked 19th amongst shortstops whilst making one fewer error in additional innings.

Numbers like the ones this season had boosted Turner’s FanGraphs WAR to two.nine — additionally tops amongst Nationwide League shortstops — getting into Thursday. Turner, on the other hand, didn’t make the all-star staff, falling brief within the Ultimate Vote.

“I believe like I’ve made some performs that I didn’t make closing yr,” stated Turner, who started Thursday batting .270 with 11 house runs, a .756 on-base-plus-slugging share, and 22 stolen bases. “A pair barehand performs, possibly a pair balls farther out of my vary. I believe like I’ve finished the ones performs a little bit bit extra. And possibly that’s why. It’s now not like I haven’t made any mistakes. So I’d simply say it’s extra of the tough performs that I’ve transformed. Throwing at the run, too. I believe like previously I haven’t thrown at the run nice till like closing yr. I roughly really feel just like the bounce throw helped me so much. I believe like that’s helped me whole extra performs.”

To achieve this level in his defensive evolution, Turner has blocked the noise about his bounce throw. Coaches have questioned if it hinders him, however they’ve given him freedom within the large leagues so he’s proceeded with it anyway. He insisted he will get throws off simply as temporarily and with the similar zip. Above all, by means of leaping he avoids an issue that had plagued him. Previously, Turner stated he had bother syncing up his legs along with his arm when charging a ball for do-or-die performs. He would bounce off the mistaken foot or take too lengthy to determine it out. He used to only throw the ball within the dust to the primary baseman to triumph over the missteps. Turner has labored on the use of his barehand extra, but if he has time, he is going with the bounce throw.

“I bounce within the air so I will be able to throw the ball and be synced up and I will be able to make higher throws,” Turner stated. “I believe like I’m simply looking to be extra constant, which I believe like I’ve been. So I don’t know. I simply assume it’s all about finishing the play and I believe like I’ve completed extra this yr.”

Turner defined higher positioning, now not essentially higher vary, has allowed him to get to extra balls this season. He works with each the training and pitching staffs in that regard. However throwing, now not attending to balls, had restricted his defensive ceiling as he rose to the majors.

“It’s now not such a lot attending to the ball,” Turner stated. “It’s whilst you get to it, with the ability to throw it to first base, which I believe as a more youthful participant I in reality had a difficult time with.”

Some leaping has made it more uncomplicated for Turner and helped make him one of the most higher defensive shortstops in baseball.

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