Justin Turner has turned out to be one of the best free agent signings the Los Angeles Dodgers have made in recent years, and he wasn’t even signed to a Major League deal.
The utility infielder has done nothing but hit since joining the Dodgers on a minor-league deal before the 2014 season. This season, he’s become the primary third baseman and was recently inserted into the third spot in the lineup. Turner has simply responded to the move in the order with four home runs and nine RBIs in seven games. He’s tried to help revive an offense that has slumped a bit lately.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez isn’t surprised by Turner’s season:
We saw what kind of hitter he could be last year and he’s proving it again this year, solidifying himself as an everyday player,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.
Overall, Turner is hitting .324 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs in 64 games. This follows a season in which he hit .340 in 109 games.
One of the bigger surprises from the Cal State Fullerton alum at the plate is the amount of home runs he’s hit. Turner now has 25 career home runs with 10 of those happening this season. He denied any credit other than hard work and the way the ball has been traveling this year:
I just kept working on the mechanics of my swing in the off-season and progressing,” Turner said. “For whatever reason, the ball seems to be flying for everyone, not just myself.”
The Dodgers were so impressed with Turner that they traded away former starting third baseman Juan Uribe. They will also have a dilemma when Cuban infielder Hector Olivera is ready for the big leagues, as many believe his bat will get him into the lineup.
Either way, expect Turner to continue doing what he’s done since coming to Los Angeles.