It’s hard to pull just one player from a Los Angeles Dodgers team that has been nothing short of amazing this season. Cody Bellinger set rookie records, Alex Wood was 11-0 at one point, and Yasiel Puig showed defensive finesse in the outfield.
Fear the beard
But it’s Justin Turner who comes out on top in all of this. He’s posting an OPS of .945. He’s had a fantastic year and finally reached his max potential as a player. During the Dodgers’ slump in late August, many wondered if Turner wasn’t actually the player his numbers said he was, but rather was just riding a really long hot streak and had finally come back down to earth. I think the opposite might be true in Turner’s case. The Dodgers were slumping because Turner was slumping. I remember two years ago watching Turner repeatedly punish the Mets at the plate during the NLDS. While true, some of that may have to do with the fact that the Mets are forever haunted by players they let go. But aside from that ghostly thought, I saw Turner’s true potential. It would be a little taste of what he would fully develop into within the next two years.
Numbers don’t lie
This season alone, Turner has 101 wRC. That’s the most by far of his teams collective wRC of 789. The only other player that comes in second to Turner would be Corey Seager with 95, so it makes sense he would also lead the team in wRAA with 35.5. And although Turner’s clutch number is one of the lowest on the Dodgers at -1.02, it seemed like every time we blinked this summer he was doing something like this:
Overall, Turner finished out the year with .321/.415/.527. These are his best numbers since his 2014 season with the Dodgers and with a significant increase in his slugging percentage.
The Dodgers will need Turner to keep performing at his best. It won’t be easy for them to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, who swept Los Angeles earlier this season. The Dodgers don’t get to pick their poison with this NLDS series, but Justin Turner will be that antidote to get them to the next round and beyond.
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