More Sports:

July 21, 2023

Can Trea Turner find a hot streak for the postseason push?

After the Phillies' 4-0 loss to the Brewers on Thursday, Turner said he's "just gotta find the middle of the baseball" better. His recent stats hint that he may not be far off from doing so.

No one expected this kind of season out of Trea Turner, not even Trea Turner, and there's been clear frustration in that. 

After Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Brewers, in which he was held hitless for a second straight game and Corbin Burnes prevented a Phillie from ever reaching third base, Turner was asked postgame about his assessment of himself at the plate, and to put it simply...

"I'm getting the pitches I want to hit and just missing them, really," Turner said (via KYW's Dave Uram). "That's what it comes down to."

And what has made the $300 million shortstop's first year in Philadelphia so often vexing. 

There have been flashes of the All-Star talent and the guy who went on an absolute tear through the World Baseball Classic back in the spring. We saw them just last weekend in a wild 36 hours against the Padres and during that series-opening win against Milwaukee on Tuesday night before the last two games brought everything back down to earth. 

But for one reason or another, Turner has yet to put it fully or consistently together in a Phillies uniform, and that type of shortcoming in expected production does take a toll, even when there are positives to keep building off of as hitting coach Kevin Long tried to point out to him.

"Me and Kevin were talking today, he's like 'I really like your swing today,' and I'm like 'Cool, whatever,'" Turner said with an eye roll, though far from upset with Long. 

"I know where he's coming from," he continued. "And I see the same thing. You look at it, looks good and whatnot, but you want the results at the end of the day. I thought the last, that was good walking off that guy [Abner Uribe]. He struck me out last night and I made that adjustment today, so I feel good, just gotta find the middle of the baseball, really."

He may not be too far off from doing so, although, again, nothing has come easy to him this season.  

Entering Friday, Turner was batting .247 with a .685 OPS, which are both underwhelming relative to the rest of his career and on track with numbers that he hasn't seen since his rookie year in Washington. But to his credit, Turner's at-bats have been steadily looking better of late, and his stats through June and in the Padres series coming back from the All-Star break do show an uptick.

Here are Turner's month-by-month splits with a couple of weeks still left to go in July, along with his isolated stats coming back from the All-Star break:

Mar./Apr. 29/130 .260/.300/.374 4/2/2 7/32 
May 25/113 .208/.257/.368 8/0/37/27 
June 26/116 .279/.353/.414 5/0/3 10/24 
July 15/68 .234/.279/.391 2/1/2 4/18 
After Break 7/32 .241/.313/.345 1/1/0 3/6 

Digging a bit deeper, the quality of contact Turner is making has been slowly but surely improving month over month also. 

Using a mix of metrics from Baseball-Reference and MLB's Baseball Savant, here's a look at how Turner has been connecting on pitches in terms of balls put in play, expected batting average, hard-hit percentage, and the frequency with which he has been getting the barrel of the bat on the ball:

Month BaBip HardHit%  BarrelsxBA 
Mar./Apr. .337 31% .238
May .250 43% .247 
June .338 45% .302 
July .296 50% .225 

Not exactly outstanding, and hardly the level of performance you want to see out of a player the Phillies only recently committed 11 years to, but evidence that things might be getting better. 

And if in the end, it all sets the stage for Turner to finally click and storm right through August and September (and hopefully October), then we'll hardly be fretting about any of this by the time it's all said and done. 

Fingers crossed. 

We'll end on what absolutely has been working for Turner this season though. He's been a monster on the basepaths once he does get on, having already stolen 21 bases – good for fourth in the majors – and getting caught a grand total of zero times. So there's at least a solid victory there. 

Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports