At the beginning of the season, the Washington Nationals were considered by many to be one of the better teams in baseball. Their starting rotation was thought to be without peer, and while there may have been holes in their lineup, it was expected that the Nationals would be able to overcome these issues. Instead, the Nationals have floundered this season, and currently sit one game below .500, five games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.
Obviously, there have been many reasons as to why the Nationals have struggled. The starting rotation has been inconsistent and plagued by injuries, while the lineup, aside from the incomparable Bryce Harper, has failed to produce as many had expected. Looking for a spark to the offense, the Nationals brought up top prospect Trea Turner in the hopes that he can help lead them to the postseason.
Turner, who was 0-2 in his debut last night, has done well in his first full season in professional baseball. During three stops in the minors, Turner has posted a .322/370/.458 batting line, hitting eight home runs and stealing 29 bases between AA and AAA. He was certainly able to handle the International League during his time there, posting a .313/.353/.431 batting line with three home runs and 15 steals in his 42 games for the Syracuse Chiefs.
It makes sense that the Washington Nationals would want to see if Trea Turner can be that spark they need down the stretch. Nationals shortstops have produced a .224/.278/.378 batting line, ranking 29th in batting average and 28th in on base percentage. While the Nationals are fifth in baseball with 15 home runs at short, they simply have not gotten the production expected from Ian Desmond.
In bringing up Turner, the Nationals are signalling that the future is set to begin. While the hope is still that they can overtake the Mets or slide in to the Wild Card this year, Turner is one of the dynamic young players that the Nationals are hoping can lead the franchise over the next few seasons. While he is not the slugger that Desmond has been, Turner can get on base and cause havoc on the basepaths, something that Desmond has been unable to do this season.
The Washington Nationals will get a chance to see what Trea Turner, currently one of the top prospects in all of baseball, can do over the final month of the season. Should he succeed and prove that he is ready for the majors, the Nationals could have a couple of tough choices to make next season.