Trea Turner played in 849 regular season baseball games from 2015 through 2022. He hit .302/.355/.487 (.842 OPS) in those games, averaging 24 home runs and 44 stolen bases per 162.
Based on those numbers, the Phils signed Turner to an 11-year contract. Barring a trade, significant injuries, or an early retirement, he’ll play somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,782 games for Philadelphia.
He’ll probably play over 2,500 games in his career.
When we talk about Turner’s disappointing Phillies statistics, we’re talking about 46 games.
That’s not many games.
It’s certainly not enough games to tell us much of anything about Trea Turner. But here are the numbers:
.256/.303/.390 (.693 OPS)
They’re bad stats, but they’re not unprecedented in Turner’s career. In 46 games in 2017, from April 30 through June 21, Turner hit .239/.273/.368 (.641 OPS). In 46 games in 2018, from July 6 through August 28, he hit .244/.291/.363 (.654 OPS).
In both those seasons he ended up with respectable overall numbers. And in the years that followed, his stats exploded.
There’s no reason to worry about 46 games.
If you’re still not convinced, let’s take a look at selected 46-game stretches for some of your favorite Phillies. We’ll limit our search to seasons the players in question were about the same age as Turner, who turns 30 in June.
31-year-old Chase Utley in 46 games from 5.22.2010 through 8.30.2010:
.224/.322/.294 (.616 OPS)
30-year-old Jimmy Rollins in 46 games from 5.7.2009 through 7.1.2009:
.202/.249/.335 (.584 OPS)
31-year-old Pat Burrell in 46 games from 8.1.2008 through 9.21.2008:
.176/.271/.327 (.599 OPS)
28-year-old Ryan Howard in 46 games from 4.2.2008 through 5.20.2008:
.182/.290/.400 (.690 OPS)
26-year-old Bryce Harper in 46 games from 4.7.2019 through 5.26.2019:
.200/.322/.371 (.692 OPS)
30-year-old JT Realmuto in 46 games from 9.24.2021 through 5.24.2022:
.219/.281/.325 (.607 OPS)
28-year-old Kyle Schwarber in 46 games from 9.4.2020 through 5.9.2021:
.153/.261/.280 (.541 OPS)
28-year-old Mike Schmidt in 46 games from 5.6.1978 through 7.7.1978:
.201/.309/.360 (.669 OPS)
Over 46 games, amazing players can look pretty bad. Turner’s slow start is frustrating, and it’s a big reason why the Phillies are currently under .500. But it’s also no reason to think of him as a free agent bust.
For all we know, Turner’s next 46 games might look like this:
.365/.426/.663 (1.089 OPS)
If that sounds unrealistic, consider that Turner has done it before. He put up that slash line in a 46-game stretch to close out 2020 and start up 2021, while hitting 11 home runs and stealing 12 bases.
Turner also looked great as recently as March, hitting five home runs and slashing .391/.440/1.043 (1.483 OPS) in the World Baseball Classic.
There are, admittedly, some disconcerting trends underlying Turner’s 2023 top-line numbers: he is striking out at a career-high pace; he is chasing pitches outside of the strike zone at an alarming rate; and his numbers are particularly bad with runners in scoring position. When speaking with reporters recently, he sounded very much like a guy still very confused about his approach.
“I’ve always been aggressive when I’m going well . . . There’s a fine line. Obviously, I want to walk. I don’t want to chase. The question is: How do you make that happen? How do you do that? And that’s what I’ve been battling.”
But whenever a player is in a slump, there will be plenty of ugly peripheral numbers and discouraging quotes. And that’s exactly what this is—a slump. It’s an unfortunately-timed slump, right at the start of Turner’s Phillies career and at a time when the team is underachieving as a whole. But nothing more.
Some speculate that Turner is struggling because he is with a new team. Kyle Schwarber discussed that possibility with reporters earlier this week: “I think it’s just natural, right? Like when you come into a new place and you’re gonna be here for multiple years, you want to make a good statement of yourself, right?”
Switching teams didn’t seem to bother Turner in 2021, when he was traded midseason from the Nationals to the Dodgers. He hit .338/.385/.565 (.950 OPS) in 52 games after joining LA. But the higher expectations associated with his $300 million long-term Philies deal probably contribute to his struggles.
So, overall, what are the chances that healthy eight-year major league veteran Trea Turner is washed up at the age of 30? That he can’t handle the pressure of his new contract, and despite an extensive pre-Phillies superstar track record, that he is no longer a good hitter? I’d argue that the odds are infinitesimal.
It’s just a slump. It’s brutal, but Turner will snap out of it. Later this season broadcast graphics will compare his ugly early numbers to sparkling numbers after a certain date.
Just… hopefully that date is in May or early June. Because the Phils need help as soon as possible.
Ending on a more cheerful note, here are the best 46-game batting spans in the history of the Phillies franchise:
Ryan Howard in 46 games from 7.27.2006 through 9.13.2006:
.391/.509/.870 (1.379 OPS), 24 HR, 59 RBI
Mike Schmidt in 46 games from 5.28.1977 through 7.25.1977:
.342/.452/.807 (1.259 OPS), 20 HR, 42 RBI
Jim Thome in 46 games from 4.16.2004 through 6.17.2004:
.326/.435/.743 (1.178 OPS), 20 HR, 44 RBI
Dick Allen in 46 games from 5.14.1969 through 8.6.1969:
.318/.411/.712 (1.123 OPS), 20 HR, 36 RBI
Kyle Schwarber in 46 games from 5.30.2022 through 7.23.2022:
.232/.330/.605 (.935 OPS), 20 HR, 27 RBI
Chuck Klein in 46 games from 4.21.1930 through 6.16.1930:
.441/.486/.831 (1.317 OPS), 18 HR, 68 RBI
Lefty O’Doul in 46 games from 8.31.1929 through 5.7.1930:
.453/.514/.667 (1.181 OPS), 6 HR, 30 RBI
Milt Thompson in 46 games from 6.29.1987 through 8.25.1987:
.441/.462/.653 (1.114 OPS), 5 HR, 25 RBI, 18 SB
Exclusive new artwork from Dhwani Saraiya.
Kyle Schwarber’s grand slam on Saturday was the best moment of the Phillies’ season to-date.
Tweets of the week.
Never thought we’d see the day when the Phillies bullpen is the least of the team’s concerns:
Everything else has gone wrong for the Phils in May. It’s actually amazing that their 22-25 overall record isn’t worse.
Sooner or later we will get Phillies “City Connect” jerseys. Seems like a simple enough task to make everyone happy:
Good for Mick. Most Phillies fans want to see him succeed:
Here’s Shane Victorino playing baseball for the Savannah Bananas earlier this week:
This week in 2008.
The 2008 Phils were 26-22 at the end of May 21.
On May 15, they beat the Braves 5-0 to take the rubber match of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Cole Hamels threw the first complete game shutout of his career.
Roy Halladay, Matt Stairs, and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays came to town next. The Phillies won the first game of the series 10-3 as Jayson Werth almost hit for a home run cycle (he hit a solo home run, a three-run home run, and a grand slam). But the Jays won the next two, with Halladay effortlessly shutting down the Phils for a few innings in the series finale in a rare relief appearance.
The Phillies hit the road for Washington after that. They dropped the first game of the series, 4-0 on May 19. Chase Utley went 2/4 in the loss, reaching base at least once for the 42nd time in the Phils’ first 46 games. The Fightins took the next game 1-0, as Hamels, Tom Gordon, and Brad Lidge combined for the shutout. Greg Dobbs collected the game’s only RBI with his 10th pinch hit in 22 at-bats.
And on May 21, Ryan Howard went 3/5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI in a 12-2 win over the Nats. Howard is hitting just .195, but he has 12 HR and is maybe starting to heat up. Feels like Hittin’ Season.
Phillie you forgot about.
Tim Mauser, 2 seasons with the Phils (1991, 1993), 11 games, 27 innings pitched, 6.00 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 1.59 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 6.7 K/9.
The ‘93 Phillies traded Mauser to San Diego on July 3 for Roger Mason.
This is the section of the newsletter where I make you look at dogs.
Thanks for reading and go Phils!
Turner is the least of my concerns…our pitching situation is a hot mess, to say the least! 2 months into the season and we don’t have a 5th starter and our “ACES” are imploding! 😩😩😩