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Trea Turner has become one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops

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The numbers say Trea Turner is one in every of baseball’s absolute best defensive shortstops. (Photograph by means of John McDonnell / The Washington Publish)

Trea Turner didn’t hesitate. He charged the groundball at complete pace, corralled it together with his glove and started his signature defensive play: the bounce throw. He has leaned on it to make difficult performs again and again this season, nearly at all times seamlessly. Best this time, within the backside of the primary inning at PNC Park on Wednesday, Turner’s switch went awry. He dropped the ball and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ leadoff hitter, Josh Harrison, reached base.

Some would say the bounce was once useless. Maximum shortstops don’t bounce to make that play — jumps are generally restricted to Jeter-esque performs within the hollow. However Turner isn’t maximum shortstops. The bounce throw isn’t for taste issues. It’s an adjustment he felt he had to incorporate during the last couple years to conform into what some statistics point out he’s transform this season: the most productive shortstop within the Nationwide League.

“Return and take a look at the tape and inform me what number of dangerous throws I’ve made,” the 25-year-old Turner mentioned sooner than Wednesday’s recreation. “No person is aware of what number of dangerous throws I’ve made. No person is aware of what number of dangerous throws I’ve made and I will be able to inform you: one.”

Defensive stats are fickle. The science isn’t precise, no less than no longer but. Good enough pattern sizes take a couple of seasons. As a way to only take a look at them to judge a participant’s defensive efficiency the use of the to be had knowledge sooner than the all-star ruin isn’t the most productive manner. But it surely’s a measuring stick and the bare eye helps Turner, whose arm energy was once many times wondered sooner than turning into a longtime large leaguer, has no less than stepped forward considerably in his 2d complete season as a major-league shortstop.

For those who’re to consider the defensive stats, Turner entered Thursday with 7.three defensive runs stored — 5th amongst important league shortstops in the back of Andrelton Simmons, Jose Iglesias, Francisco Lindor and Marcus Semien — regardless of making 9 mistakes. Ultimate season, his three.four defensive runs ranked 19th amongst shortstops whilst making one fewer error in additional innings.

Numbers like the ones this season had boosted Turner’s FanGraphs WAR to two.nine — additionally tops amongst Nationwide League shortstops — getting into Thursday. Turner, then again, didn’t make the all-star crew, falling brief within the Ultimate Vote.

“I believe like I’ve made some performs that I didn’t make ultimate yr,” mentioned Turner, who started Thursday batting .270 with 11 house runs, a .756 on-base-plus-slugging proportion, and 22 stolen bases. “A pair barehand performs, perhaps a pair balls farther out of my vary. I believe like I’ve finished the ones performs a little bit bit extra. And perhaps that’s why. It’s no longer like I haven’t made any mistakes. So I’d simply say it’s extra of the tricky performs that I’ve transformed. Throwing at the run, too. I believe like prior to now I haven’t thrown at the run nice till like ultimate yr. I more or less really feel just like the bounce throw helped me so much. I believe like that’s helped me whole extra performs.”

To succeed in this level in his defensive evolution, Turner has blocked the noise about his bounce throw. Coaches have puzzled if it hinders him, however they’ve given him freedom within the large leagues so he’s proceeded with it anyway. He insisted he will get throws off simply as briefly and with the similar zip. Above all, by means of leaping he avoids an issue that had plagued him. Prior to now, Turner mentioned he had bother syncing up his legs together with his arm when charging a ball for do-or-die performs. He would bounce off the fallacious foot or take too lengthy to determine it out. He used to only throw the ball within the grime to the primary baseman to conquer the missteps. Turner has labored on the use of his barehand extra, but if he has time, he is going with the bounce throw.

“I bounce within the air so I will be able to throw the ball and be synced up and I will be able to make higher throws,” Turner mentioned. “I believe like I’m simply seeking to be extra constant, which I believe like I’ve been. So I don’t know. I simply assume it’s all about finishing the play and I believe like I’ve finished extra this yr.”

Turner defined higher positioning, no longer essentially higher vary, has allowed him to get to extra balls this season. He works with each the training and pitching staffs in that regard. However throwing, no longer attending to balls, had restricted his defensive ceiling as he rose to the majors.

“It’s no longer such a lot attending to the ball,” Turner mentioned. “It’s while you get to it, with the ability to throw it to first base, which I feel as a more youthful participant I truly had a difficult time with.”

Some leaping has made it more uncomplicated for Turner and helped make him some of the higher defensive shortstops in baseball.

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