Trea Turner

Junior shortstop Trea Turner hits during the NC State 3-2 victory over East Carolina on April 2, 2014. The win improved the Wolfpack's record to 17-11. The team's next home appearance will occur on April 18 against Boston College. 

The blockbuster of this year’s MLB trade deadline involved Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop and MLB Pack pro Trea Turner getting shipped out west along with right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals in exchange for a slew of prospects. Though Scherzer was the primary target of the deal, Turner’s hot bat and lightning speed are stealing some of Scherzer’s thunder.

Despite the memes his highlights have generated online since going west, Turner was not even the centerpiece of his move to Los Angles. Scherzer generated the majority of the hype in the blockbuster trade between the Dodgers and the Nationals, largely due to LA’s absences in its starting rotation, but it’s Turner who is creating more post-trade buzz. With New York Yankees outfielder Tim Locastro out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL, Turner now holds sole ownership of the title “fastest player in baseball,” and he is now putting his speed on display for a national audience.

Per baseball savant, Turner’s 90-foot sprint of 30.7 feet per second is tied with Locastro for tops in baseball. Though Turner’s home-to-first base split is 0.06 seconds slower than Locastro, Turner’s wheels are regarded as up there with the best in the game among baseball analysts. The newly minted Dodger executed what is arguably the highlight of the season with a smooth slide into home plate against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 10. The satisfying slide sent shock waves throughout and beyond the baseball world and set the Turner-Dodger hype train into full motion.

Although Scherzer is finishing up his age-36 season, he is providing plenty of new life to the Dodgers roster as well. With lefties Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías as well as right-hander Tony Gonsolin all on the injury list, Scherzer’s arrival helps patch up Los Angeles’ rotation troubles as they try to tear the NL West title away from the San Francisco Giants before the end of the regular season. That being said, Scherzer’s three appearances in Dodger blue thus far have limited his contributions to baseball in Dodgerland compared to Turner’s 15 games.

Despite the recent spike in national attention to Turner’s prowess on the basepaths, his speed has been no secret among baseball circles since he became an everyday player. As early as 2016, Turner’s elite speed was a trademark of the Nationals’ rebuild. The speedster led the National League in stolen bases in 2018, and his contributions to the Nats' 2019 campaign ended in a World Series title for Washington. Turner is continuing this trend with the Dodgers, as he currently sits at the top of the NL in stolen bases in 2021.

Turner’s success in baserunning amounts to almost 200 career stolen bases, placing him at No. 11 among active players even though Turner is just 28 years old. His 83.69% stolen base percentage ranks third among active players, emphasizing Turner’s efficiency as well as raw quickness as a baserunner. But even though Turner’s trademark speed is his most noteworthy characteristic, his bat has been reaching its peak powers since the start of the 2020 season.

Despite accumulating double-digit home runs every year since 2016, Turner is on the verge of his first 20-homer season with 40 games to go. In 2020, his slugging percentage eclipsed .500 for the first time since 2016, when he only played 73 games. Turner’s bat is still blasting baseballs in 2021, slashing .326/.372/.520 through 110 games. The slashline is boosted by Turner’s numbers with Los Angeles, where he is slashing .352/.390/.519. 

As the Dodgers chase down the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, Turner’s performances are fueling a resurgence in the Los Angeles’ clubhouse. Scherzer’s ferver is a contributing factor as well, but with Turner swiping bags and bashing baseballs, the latter is looking like the bigger piece of that Dodger duo.