WASHINGTON — The Nationals are working to rebuild the quiet confidence of Trea Turner, who has struggled since losing top-of-the-order mate Adam Eaton to a season-ending injury last month.
After hitting .352 with two home runs and 13 RBI to start the season — and a two-week stint on the disabled list sandwiched into those first 13 games — Turner looked on track to replicate the Rookie of the Year runner-up campaign he had last season.
In 28 games since Eaton was lost, however, Turner has hit .207 with three home runs, 10 RBI, five walks and 24 strikeouts.
“What I’ve seen is the league has adjusted to him,” Dusty Baker told reporters last week. “Now it’s up to him to adjust back.”
When Turner first stormed onto the scene in 2016, he chewed up National League pitching, carrying a .342 average and .937 OPS over the course of his 73 games, the first tangible proof Washington might have a future All-Star replacing Ian Desmond at shortstop. And, it was clear early in 2017 that with the formidable pairing of Turner and Eaton atop the lineup, 23-year-old Turner could get even better.
“This is the big leagues, man, with the video and the advanced charts,” Baker said. “They’re not going to let you keep killing them in this league. Everybody has to make that adjustment from time to time. He’s a smart kid. He’ll make them. We’re helping him to make them.”
Turner has been studying footage of his swing — and how it has evolved — with hitting coaches Rick Schu and Jacque Jones, General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo says.
With Turner looking to recapture his 2016 form, Rizzo was asked how much input he’s had on those video sessions during his weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
Burke & Herbert Bank Fan Question of the Week: Did you have any input on Trea Turner watching 2016 video of himself to try and recapture last year’s hitting form? — Jack in McLean
“I talk with Rick Schu,” Rizzo said. “I’ve been with Rick Schu for years. We were together in Arizona; we’re together here, so we have a good relationship, a good rapport. We discuss a lot of things about a lot of hitters and with Jacque Jones.”
“I saw those guys sitting around the video machine, and we did a split-screen of Trea over the last couple years,” Rizzo said. “And it was a good discussion that we had. We talked about things that Rick and Jacque were going to take to Trea to see if there’s anything that we can work on.”
“I wouldn’t say I have any direct input,” he said. “But we have strict and direct communication with myself and the coaching staff, and we bounce ideas off each other all the time. ”
Nats bench coach Chris Speier thinks Turner has put too much pressure on himself to make up for the loss of Eaton’s production, but believes he will pull out of it just fine.
“Trea is a quiet guy, but he’s got an intensity and he really, really wants to do well,” Speier said recently, according to Federal Baseball. “I think for a while he might have been putting a little pressure on him once Adam Eaton went down, to get on base and be productive, but we told him, ‘Just be you, you’re going to be fine.'”