When the Washington Nationals' top infield prospect, Trea Turner, made his professional debut at second base earlier this week at Triple-A Syracuse, speculation began about why the shortstop was getting work at a new position. Were the Nationals planning on bringing him up to the majors? Would they put him at second with Anthony Rendon not yet himself at the plate in an injury-filled season and Danny Espinosa coming back down to earth some?
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked about the thinking behind having Turner playing second with Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
"We’re just trying to get him some versatility," Rizzo explained.
"We’re just trying to get him some exposure at both positions in case when he gets to the big leagues, he can play second as well as short."
Rizzo also said that he wasn't completely sure that Turner would even be a September call-up when rosters expanded, since that move that would require the Nats to clear a spot on the 40-Man roster.
He did, however, go on to talk about how impressed he was with the 22-year-old infielder, acquired from the San Diego Padres this winter (and then officially as a PTBNL in June) as part of the three-team deal that also landed right-handed starter Joe Ross:
"He’s got all the skills you want to have as a shortstop. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t play second base as well, too, but we see him as a guy that has the opportunity to play shortstop. That’s what we think."
Through 116 games this season, at Double-A in the Padres' organization and Double and Triple-A in the Nationals' system this season, the 2014 1st Round pick out of North Carolina State University has put up a combined .322/.370/.458 line with 24 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs and 29 stole bases.
In 48 games with the Nationals' top affiliate, Turner put up a .314/.353/.431 line with seven of his doubles, three of the triples and three home runs in 205 plate appearances.
This afternoon, the Nationals called Turner up to the majors, placing Tyler Moore on the 15-Day DL with a left ankle sprain and transferring Aaron Barrett to the 60-Day DL as well: