When the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Long Beach, Calif., native Justin Turner to a Minor-League contract prior to the 2014 season, there was little reason to view the addition as one that was more than adding depth to the organization.
Turner was coming off a season in which he .280/.319/.385 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. He proceeded to have a career year in his first season with the Dodgers, leading to questions of why the New York Mets made the decision to non-tender him after 2013.
With the Dodgers just having completed a three-game set against Turner’s former club, the third baseman was asked about the now-inexcusable decision. While Turner has regularly deflected attention away from what transpired, he this time opened up a bit more, via ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
I mean, he [Mets GM Sandy Anderson] came over from Oakland. He’s a ‘Moneyball’ guy. I don’t know if ‘Looking to walk’ is the right way of saying it, but he talks about on-base percentage.” Turner said. “I’m never looking to walk. Sometimes when you miss pitches you should hit, you end up walking. I wasn’t worried about on-base percentage or anything like that. I was just trying to have good at-bats.”
Since coming to the Dodgers Turner has evolved from versatile bench player to starting third baseman that bats third in a lineup full of sluggers. This season he’s batting .312/.386/.558 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs.
Additionally, .330/.398/.523 and has hit 11 home runs this season (a career high). With most of the Dodgers offense struggling at the moment, the third baseman has become the teams No. 3 hitter. Turner’s wRC+ (runs per plate appearance, where 100 is average) is at 168.
As for walks, Turner’s career high is 39 from the 2011 season when he was with the Mets. He drew 28 walks in 2014 and has 17 base on balls this season. Turner went 2-for-8 over three games (two starts) against the Mets in the weekend series.