Trea Turner went 0 for 4 in the series opener with the Orioles in Baltimore’s Oriole Park in Camden Yards.
Over the next three games, the 23-year-old Washington Nationals’ infielder/outfielder went 10 for 13 (.769/.769/.846) to leave him with a .340/.363/.543 line, nine doubles, six triples, four home runs and 15 steals in 18 attempts over 171 plate appearances so far in 2016.
Before the finale of the four-game set with the O’s, Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker talked to reporters about Turner’s approach at the plate and the consistency of his swing path.
“I like the way he goes up the middle, basically,” Baker said, “and it’s getting better, because he’s working on staying out of the air, because that’s not his thing.
“His line drives still have a possibility of going out of the ballpark, but there’s a difference between a line drive and hitting the ball up in the air.
“I like his aggressiveness,” Baker added.
“He’s a brave young man, and he’s not intimidated by being here in the big leagues.
“You can tell by the trajectory of how the ball is coming off his bat that he has a level swing, where, in this modern time — where he stays in the zone a long time, so therefore, you get some jam shots, you get some bloopers off the end and you get some balls that are scalded to the outfield just by staying through the zone a long time — where a lot of guys come into the zone and out of the zone so they’re limiting their chances of getting hits.”
Turner is also learning on the job in the outfield, with Ryan Zimmerman’s return at first base pushing him from second to center on a more regular basis.
Turner’s putting in the work, Baker said, and getting help on the defensive end when he needs it.
“Davey [Lopes] is helping him, I’m helping him,” he said.
“Jacque Jones is helping him and we have to sort of have him make mistakes before we see what he doesn’t know.”
He’s getting more comfortable every day.
“He’s more confident. He was always confident, but he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve,” Baker told reporters after Thursday’s series finale, another multi-hit game for the rookie.
“He’s a very humble young man. Doesn’t do a bunch of talking, but he knows he can play and that’s half the battle. You can see him staying off pitches that he was chasing earlier. He has more discipline, he’s not popping as many balls up, he’s hitting balls on the line and he’s wiry strong, you can tell by that ball he hit down the left field line, that’s a big man’s swing right there and he’s stronger than he appears and he’s going to get stronger yet, when he gets his man-muscles or man-bones, whatever you call it, cause today I tapped him on the butt and I was like, “Man, you’re hard as a rock and he was like, “I should be, it’s all bone.’ He told me, so...”
Turner’s back atop the lineup for the series opener with the Colorado Rockies: