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Where in the World is Regular Season Trea Turner?

There’s no better hitter or base stealer in MLB than Trea Turner. But as the Dodgers road to the World Series narrows, he has disappeared.

Trea Turner by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Where in the World is Regular Season Trea Turner?


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in trouble. Down two games to none in the 2021 NLCS, LA has to get something going, and soon, if they want to defend their World Series title. An easy way for the Dodgers to drum up something new is to create a search party for 2021 Trea Turner, who has not shown up in the postseason.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made a huge splash at the trade deadline as they sent a large swath of high-level prospects to the Washington Nationals in exchange for All-Stars Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.

Scherzer was an easy target for LA. Dustin May went down early in the season. Clayton Kershaw fought elbow issues that eventually ended his season. Bolstering a rotation that lost a Cy Young winner by adding a Cy Young winner is one thing, but also acquiring his All-Star teammate to sure up your middle infield? That’s the next level.

Trea Turner delivered, albeit uncomfortable defensively, in his new position at second base. With his .322/.369/.521 slashline, his .890 OPS, and 142 OPS+ packed in his suitcase, Turner kept on raking after the deadline. As LA fought for divisional dominance with San Francisco, Turner kept getting better. At the end of the season, no National League player had more hits (195), stolen bases (32), or a higher batting average (.328).

But Regular Season Trea Turner? That guy has been MIA so far in the postseason. Turner’s postseason can be summed up in a rough 7-for-35 at the plate, with the majority of those at-bats coming in the NLDS. Against San Francisco, Turner went an anemic 3/22, shaking out to a .136 average. That’s not Trea Turner; that’s an imposter.

Or maybe, it’s not.

For his career, Turner’s a .303/.358/.492 hitter, with an .890 OPS and a 122 OPS+. In layman’s terms, Trea Truner’s a fantastic player on your ballclub. In the postseason, the dropoff is steep. Turner’s batting average drops 70 points to .233, his on-base percentage bottoms out at .276, and his slugging percentage is cut by 40% to .301. Adding insult to injury, Turner’s OPS drops by 273 points from .850 to .577. That’s not the same player. Seriously.

Player A: .303/.358/.492, .850 OPS
Player B: .233/.276/.301, .577 OPS

Which guy do you want hitting 3rd in your NLCS lineup? Oops, it’s the same guy. They’re both Trea Turner.

*Obligatory Small Sample Size Song*

And what’s worse are his numbers on the basepaths. In his career, Trea Turner has led the NL in steals twice, including this season. In the average season, Turner steals a base every 3.5 games. That’s pretty good. In the postseason, as you may have guessed, he’s not so hot. Doubling his regular-season rate, Postseason Trea steals a base once every seven games or once a seven-game series. That’s frustrating, especially against the weak throwing Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

If the Dodgers want to have a chance at winning this NLCS, they need to find a way to jumpstart Turner’s productivity. Neutralizing Turner at the plate and on the basepaths has worked out well for the Giants and Braves so far. The Dodgers need to find Regular Season Trea Turner before he becomes Offseason Trea Turner.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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