After two weeks of play, the Dodgers have been as good as advertised, if not better. They are 10-2 on the season, and they’ve gotten production up and down the lineup. That being said, they’ve gotten most of their production from two perhaps unlikely sources.
Rookie sensation Zach McKinstry and veteran third baseman Justin Turner.
Both players are tied for the team lead with three home runs and 11 RBI apiece, but only Justin holds the lead in terms of slugging percentage. This comes as a bit of a surprise, as Turner doesn’t usually hit for power this early in the season. His career slugging in the months of March and April is .409, the lowest total for any month during the regular season. This year, however, that number is .732, which is the highest for any Dodger in 2021.
That’s the kind of start that catches your manager’s attention.
I think it’s just the law of averages,” Roberts said of Turner’s hot start. “April hasn’t been good for Justin as far as slug, but he was due to slug a little but in April so I’m happy that it’s here in ’21. He looks really good at the plate, taking good at-bats, doing what he does.”
This isn’t to say that Turner has not been a good hitter in the month of April, because he still owns a career .298 batting average during this time of year. The difference has been the home run ball. Of Turner’s 127 career regular-season home runs, only 6 have come in the months of March and April, with half of those coming this season. That means that prior to this year, only 2% of his hits in the season’s early days were going out of the park.
There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to heat up along with the summer months, but it’s a great sign that Justin is already crushing baseballs in a year where many expected him to have a dropoff in production.
Justin Turner is the heart and soul of this Dodgers organization, and a lack of pop in the first month of the season is never going to change that. Still, it’s hard not to get excited when you’re clubhouse leader sends a baseball flying into a bowl of nachos.