Trea Turner was drafted as a shortstop and he has played there for the majority of his time in the minors, but he’s played just eight games at shortstop in the majors so far and hasn’t yet started a game at short for Washington.
In spite of that fact, Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo said he was comfortable with Turner taking over at shortstop, as he explained after the Nationals dealt Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels this winter.
“[Turner] showed flashes of it when he played in the big leagues,” Rizzo told reporters.
“We think he’s going to be a rangy shortstop. He’s got good hands. He’s got good feet.
“He’s got range. He’s got plenty of arm to play short and I think he’s going to be a good defensive shortstop with good offense.”
Turner was impressive at the plate over 73 games and 324 plate appearances in 2016 after he was called up in mid-July, putting up a .342/.370/.567 line, 14 doubles, eight triples, 13 home runs and 33 stolen bases in a rookie campaign that led to the 23-year-old being named a finalist for National League Rookie of the Year.
Turner was ranked No. 4 on the MLB Network’s list of the Top 10 Shortstops Right Now when it was released this past weekend, behind only the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa, Cleveland Indians’ Francisco Lindor and the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year winner, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager.
Turner said this winter that he was looking forward to returning to short on a regular basis.
“Excited to have an opportunity to go back there,” Turner said. “I think that’s where I’m most comfortable and it’s where I played the majority of my career and I look forward to trying to prove that I can play there at a high level and be consistent.”
Check out what the MLB Network’s hosts had to say about Turner on the broadcast: