2016 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT PROFILE: TREA TURNER
It isn’t often that a player regarded as highly as Trea Turner is traded away, but that’s exactly what happened in 2014 when the Nationals, in a three-team trade, acquired Turner from the Padres and only had to give up Steven Souza and Travis Ott to do it.
Turner shined at both AA and AAA in 2015 for the Nationals before getting the call up just before roster expansion. He has a sweet swing that can connect the ball on a line to all fields, and he possesses excellent speed and plate discipline. Turner probably won’t get you the homers that Carlos Correa or Corey Seager can, but his ability to get on base and swipe the next one will provide him with tremendous upside at the position.
With only two professional years under his belt, the young speedster has yet to be ranked higher than 62nd according to MLB.com and was ranked 65th best prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2015 season.
His solid AA/AAA stat line of 2015 really boosted his numbers overall as Baseball Prospectus is ranking Turner 13th this season. However, Turner still sits behind several other prospects at his position including Seager, JP Crawford from Philly and Orlando Arcia from Milwaukee, mostly due to his lack of power potential.
Although Turner has only two seasons under his belt at the professional level, there hasn’t been a level where he hasn’t produced. With a .322/.384/.454 stat line and 52 stolen bases over the course of those two years, Turner is shaping into a really valuable commodity for the Nationals.
With the loss of Ian Desmond, the Nats will most likely turn to Turner at some point in the season, but barring catastrophic injury to Stephen Drew or Danny Espinosa, Turner will most likely start his 2016 campaign in the minors.
There is absolutely no denying Turner’s ability or the notion that he will be the team’s long term shortstop option, but with his inexperience, it is pretty much set in stone that the team will look to get him a bit more experience at the professional level before completely thrusting him into the everyday picture. It wasn’t until he made it to the big leagues that we saw the inexperience become an issue as he failed to get on base 30 percent of the time.
The key projection to give here revolves around the amount of time he will get to show us what he can do at the Major League level. The guys over at Fangraphs have Turner projected to get in 93 games this season with a .282 average and only six homers. That’s actually being generous compared to other models. Knowing that Turner doesn’t possess the power prowess that gives shortstops so much upside, this doesn’t seem to be that big of a shocking revelation.
It will be hard to wrap your head around the true predictions for Turner because of the uncertainty of his role on the big club. If he gets sent down to start the season, he will most likely not provide you with a ton of value but could be a very solid late season pick up to help provide additional upside.
If Turner is able to beat out either Espinosa or Drew this spring (which is a long shot either way), Turner could hold immense value for you and your fantasy teams in 2016. We fully expect Turner to take over the full time duties sometime in late May or early June, and when he does he should begin to produce right away barring a complete regression. He should be able to provide an average of .275+, 6 – 10 HR and 20+ stolen bases. If these numbers stack up, he could find himself in the top five in both stolen bases and on base percentage among shortstops in the league, and that holds exceptional value for a player who may barely play in more than half of the games this season.