WASHINGTON — Nationals outfielder and middle infielder Trea Turner has dramatically impacted games with his speed.
One of the fastest players in Major League Baseball, according to Statcast, he routinely creates chaos by nothing more than his on-base presence, forcing pitchers to speed up their throw-over attempts which has, many times already, caused throwing errors which have afforded Turner extra bases, and the Nationals additional runs.
He’s so fast, he often wonders whether he could compete with his speed at the Olympic level, against the fastest sprinters on the planet, something he was asked about Monday during an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan.
“I don’t know,” Turner said, when asked about it. “I ask myself that a lot. I think we had an indoor track team at N.C. State and they ran like a 60-meter, which is pretty similar to a 60-yard dash, maybe a little bit farther. But me and my dad have debated that.”
“I would like to think so,” he said. “But at the same time, they’re real special athletes and I don’t want to put myself up there with them and be ignorant about it. They’ve got the track, and the spikes and the little suits and all that, and obviously the technique and the training.”
“You’ve never worn a track suit just to try it out?” Paulsen asked.
“No,” Turner said with a laugh. “I’ve worn track shoes, but I don’t know if I’d be caught wearing a track suit.”
Turner has recorded 17 stolen bases this season, although he was initially ruled safe the three times he has been caught stealing. Those three calls — two in one game last week against the Orioles — were all reversed by replay review.
Asked about those reviews, Turner replied, simply, “Yeah. Don’t get me started on that.”
Asked if it’s possible for a catcher to throw him out without a review, Turner said, “Well, technically yes, because last year I think I had one caught-stealing where I was called out and there was no review. So last year it happened, but like you said, there’s been a lot of overturns and I guess that’s what the technology was made for and used for, but so far it’s kind of gone against us as a team and it hasn’t been great.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made evolving the historically conservative game a top priority since assuming office in 2015, instituting new rules to sometimes adverse consequences, as with the slide rule, or the dreaded transfer rule, which baseball amended shortly after it was first implemented due to ticky-tack calls frequently being made not in the intended spirit of the rule.
There have been growing pains with the implementation of replay review, too.
“In general, I actually like replay,” Paulsen offered. “I just want the calls right all the time, and the more technology used, the better. You are a victim a couple times, obviously, after the fact on replay. But your general rule is that, what? You like it or you don’t like it?”
“Well, you know, I thought the same thing at first,” Turner said. “I was like, ‘Okay, good. At least you’re gonna get all the calls right, or most calls right,’ and it would be good for baseball. But now, being a fast guy, there’s so many close plays that are broken down by inches, centimeters — whatever you want to call it — and a lot of times they can’t overturn it or determine whether the call’s right or wrong.”
“I think you make a lot of plays close and make it hard on umpires by hustling and whatever it may be,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not always as clear as you’d think it be. You think it’d be easy to just say ‘out’ or ‘safe,’ but that’s not always the case, and sometimes it gets frustrating.”