Trea Turner played in all 162 games in 2018, starting in 158, becoming just the second player in Washington Nationals’ franchise history to appear in every game in a season.
Turner joined Ryan Zimmerman as the only two players to do so since baseball returned in the nation’s capital in 2005.
“Excited for Trea,” Bryce Harper told reporters towards the end of the 2018 campaign.
“162, that’s impressive. I mean that’s pretty cool. To be able to see a guy do that, play 162 games, have the year that he did, that’s pretty awesome.”
Turner finished his fourth major league season with a .271/.344/.416 line, and career-highs in doubles (27), home runs (19), runs scored (103), and RBIs (73), with 105 wRC+ in what ended up being a 4.8 fWAR season, which was the third-highest fWAR among NL shortstops on the year.
Turner also stole 43 bases, which were the second-most in the majors, behind only Kansas City Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield, and the most in the National League, but it was three fewer than he stole in 98 games in 2017.
Turner talked in July about the difference in working with Tim Bogar, who’d replaced veteran first base coach Davey Lopes, after Lopes served in the role for the previous two years.
“He lets us go,” Turner said of Bogar. “I think [Bogar is] a little bit more analytical. He gives us more stats than Davey did. Davey was a little bit more old school, but everyone’s different and the way Bogar has given us the stats has allowed us to maybe expand our game a little bit, because we never had that with Davey. He kind of lets us do our thing, whereas Davey would kind of yell at us if we didn’t go, so it’s a little bit different style, but I think there are definitely positives.”
“I think he’s only going to get better, I really do,” Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters late in the 2018 campaign.
“Here’s a guy I think potentially could steal 50-60 bases a year, maybe more, and he’s going to get better at it, he really is. Picking spots when he can run, and actually steal when there’s really an opportunity to steal when it’s not going to be close, those free bases are big for him.”
Over the course of the season, the Nationals’ shortstop put together a career-high 13-game hit streak which stretched from May 19th to June 1st, and he reached base safely in a career-high 24 straight games from August 29th to September 24th.
He also had a five-hit game in April which were the most hits in a game by a National all season, and he put together an impressive eight-RBI game in July, which included his first career grand slam, as part of an improbable comeback from a 9-0 deficit in a 14-12 win over the Marlins.
He talked that day, after hitting two home runs against Miami, his 11th and 12th to that point, about what was working for him when he was hitting for power.
“I think just getting pitches to hit and not trying to do too much with them,” Turner said.
“I think when I keep it simple and just put a good swing on the fastball, they kind of do the work for me, and when I try to add to it I foul them off.”
Defensively, Turner finished the 2018 campaign at +2 Defensive Runs Saved, the seventh-most DRS among qualified National League shortstops, and his .981 fielding percentage on the year was tied for third in the NL, along with the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story and the Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson, behind only the D-Backs’ Nick Ahmed (.985) and the San Diego Padres’ shortstop, Freddy Galvis (.986).
Turner said towards the end of the 2018 campaign that as happy as he was with the results overall, he saw room for improvement.
“There have been games or weeks or stretches where I felt like I could have done a lot better,” he explained, “... from whatever standpoint.”
“I don’t know necessarily power, but just hitting in general, and that’s why this game is so hard, but continue to work.”
Steamer projections at Fangraphs have Turner finishing what will be his fifth major league season with a .287/.350/.447 line, 32 doubles, 17 home runs, 41 stolen bases, and 113 wRC+ in a 4.6 fWAR campaign.
What do you expect from Turner in 2019? Where do you want to see improvement in his game?