2013 Stats: .280 batting average, two home runs, 16 RBI, 13 2B in 86 games played
Finding himself without a deal deep into the off-season, infielder Justin Turner singed a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that included an invite to Spring Training. The Dodgers were looking for an infielder after concerns arose with Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero. Turner had a solid season with the New York Mets in 2013 and will be fighting for a spot on the big league roster.
In 2013, Turner played five different positions, including first base, second base, shortstop, third base and one game in left field. He’s played second and third base a majority of his career and provides solid defense around the infield. The 29-year-old will be battling for the starting second base position, as well as one of the bench roles along the infield.
At the plate, Turner has increased his batting average each of the last three seasons, culminating with his .280 average last season. He hasn’t played over 100 games since 2011, when he hit .260 with four home runs and 51 RBI in 117 games for the Mets. Turner has the ability to be an everyday player if necessary, but may have better value off the bench in different roles for manager Don Mattingly.
Turner turned it up towards the end of last season, hitting .357 in the final month with five extra-base hits. His hot streak coincided with increased playing time in September, as he started nine of the last 14 games he played in. Turner could be a nice addition to the Dodgers if he can prove himself in the spring.
2014 Outlook: Turner will be in a tough competition this spring, trying to make the team as an infielder. He’ll be up against Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon, Miguel Rojas and possibly new Cuban signee Erisbel Arruebarrena. Mattingly has mentioned that he may have a platoon role to start the season at second base and Turner has been named one of the players that could be part of it.
Turner should make the Dodgers coming out of camp and will have a chance to be a part of the platoon, or possibly even start at second base. Either way, Turner should be a member of the Dodgers and will need to provide solid defense and timely hitting to keep his spot.
ICYMI: Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax was struck by a line drive during Spring Training