WASHINGTON — If the rest of the universe remained the same, what if the Nationals could go back to March 28, 2016 and choose not to option prospect Trea Turner to AAA Syracuse?
Given his performance at the plate, in the field and on the basepaths since his promotion in early July, it’s fair to wonder if he was ready to perform at this level from opening day this season.
Even teammate Bryce Harper, who has experience being a can’t-miss-prospect-turned-rookie-sensation, mused with reporters on Friday evening after the game.
“That’s somebody that’s super special,” he said of Turner. “I was thinking tonight, imagine if he was up in May, June, and July, or before that. We might have already ran away with this thing.”
Going into Friday’s game, Turner was batting .340/.363/.543 over 38 games and 162 plate appearances. Assuming he stayed healthy and equally productive, this extrapolates to 184 hits, 104 runs, 30 doubles, 20 triples, 14 homeruns, 70 RBIs, 50 stolen bases and 20 walks just to this point in the season.
The only cringeworthy number in the line is that he likely would have struck out 120 times already as well.
Over the course of 162 games, Turner is on pace for 235 hits, 133 runs, 39 doubles, 26 triples, 18 homeruns, 86 RBIs, 73 stolen bases and 26 walks. He would also strike out a whopping 154 strikeouts.
Even with his sustained performance, it is unrealistic to assume that Turner could keep this up over the course of the season. If he did, he would be a shoo-in for MVP. That’s how impressive his run of 39 games has been, including another electric performance on Friday night.
But even if the team had kept him around for longer than three days in June, over a stretch in which he performed well at the plate, he could have helped the Nationals clinch the division by now.
“Having him at the top of the lineup, there’s nobody like him,” Harper said.