After his 53rd strikeout of the season in his 44th game in a Phillies uniform, Trea Turner was on the receiving end of the Citizens Bank Park boobirds in the Phils’ series-opening loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Turner, who signed a lucrative 11-year, $300 million contract with Philadelphia in December last offseason, has been underachieving in red pinstripes.
It comes off as a shock to the Phillies faithful. In the World Baseball Classic, Turner was Captain America. He tied a WBC record for home runs with 5 and performed in the clutch when his team needed him the most.
Turner was always an elite shortstop throughout his MLB career. He established himself as a yearly top 5 shortstop with the Washington Nationals and was a triple threat, performing with great success in the batter’s box, on the basepaths, and in the field. That didn’t change when Turner joined the Los Angeles Dodgers for a short time.
Before joining the Phillies, Turner came in as a World Series champion and a 2-time All-Star, as well as being dubbed a Silver Slugger and earning himself a Batting Title. At this point in the season, however, Turner looks like a shell of his own self.
He started off the season hot right out of the gate with an RBI triple in his second at-bat of the season. In his first 19 games, Turner hit for a combined .321 batting average and an above-average .819 OPS. The only complaint for Turner was his lack of RBIs, as he only had 6 at the time, and home runs with only 1 at the time. But overall, Turner was hitting solidly at the start of the season.
Since April 20th, Turner’s batting average has plunged to .208, with his OPS just over .600 during that span. Returning to May 19th, Turner has struck out 22 times in his last 16 games.
It seems like Turner’s at-bats repeat like clockwork. Turner steps up to the plate. Turner is quickly down 0-2 in the count. Turner strikes out or grounds out. The contact-hitting shortstop has been pressing too much at the plate, getting out in front of pitches with no discipline. His whiff rate has been steadily climbing up in his last four seasons, and it now stands at an eye-popping 33.9%.
It’s not just at the plate. Turner’s struggles have transitioned to the field. During Friday’s game against the Cubs, Turner committed his team-leading 6th error of the season that cost the Phillies multiple runs in a 10-1 thrashing for their fifth straight loss.
Turner’s stats right now are simply not scary or worth the money that he was signed for. His batting average stands at .257 with a .692 OPS. He’s swatted only 4 home runs and a measly 10 RBIs. Surprisingly, the known speedy threat only has 5 stolen bases on the year. It’s been disappointing all around for the superstar shortstop.
Turner has continuously batted in the two spot of the Phillies’ batting order but with the team’s struggles and current 20-24 record, it might be time for manager Rob Thomson to drop him down to the bottom half of the lineup for the time being.