Player: Trea Turner
Drafted by: San Diego Padres
DOB: 06/30/1993 (Age: 20)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 170 lbs
School: North Carolina State
Previously Drafted: 20th round, 2011 (Pittsburgh)
Though drafted in the 20th round out of high school by the Texas Rangers, Trea Turner chose to honor his commitment to N.C. State rather than sign. Now, three years later, the 20-year-old is viewed as the top college shortstop in the 2014 draft class and expected to come off the board in the first round.
Turner had a monster freshman season in 2012 while playing third base for the Wolfpack, as he batted .336/.432/.459 with 20 extra-base hits (five home runs), 72 runs scored, 57 stolen bases (in 61 attempts) and more walks (41) than strikeouts (38) in 63 games.
Sliding from third base to shortstop—his natural position—the following year, Turner continued to flourish at the plate with a .368/.455/.553 batting line, seven home runs and 30 steals in 56 games. Turner’s consistency and overall production was particularly impressive considering he missed 11 games during with an ankle injury and battled lingering pain and soreness after returning to action.
Turner’s outstanding sophomore campaign earned him a spot last summer on the Team USA Collegiate National Team; however, his string of successes came to an end, as Turner disappointed with a .211/.347/.263 batting line and three extra-base hits in 20 games.
Though he didn’t struggle as mightily as he did for Team USA, Turner failed to take the step forward many expected this spring back at N.C. State. Overall, he batted .321/.418/.516 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 26 stolen bases in 54 games.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Some concern about hit-tool potential despite strong collegiate track record; contact-oriented swing; impressive hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills; uses entire field; adept at weighting back and driving secondary pitches; rarely strikes out due to advanced feel for strike zone; understands how to put the ball in play and let his wheels do the rest; bat speed is only average at best; tendency to drift into contact; struggles with good velocity on inner-half of plate; hands can drag behind body; needs to incorporate lower half into swing as a professional.
Great athlete at 6’1”, 170 pounds but lacks strength; power will never be a notable aspect of his game; more likely to produce consistent extra-base pop, legging out a high number of doubles and triples annually; may never exceed single-digit home run total; decision to widen base in stance this season has further limited his power.
Plus-plus speed that plays on all sides of the ball; advanced base stealer who knows how to read pitchers and get good jumps; takes aggressive leads consistently; always looking to take an extra base; ankle injury that plagued him last spring and summer doesn’t appear to be an issue.
Arm strength is only average; quick release and fast arm make it appear better at times.
Plus defender; no doubt as to whether or not he’ll stick at shortstop for the duration of his career; features excellent range thanks to quick feet, 70-grade wheels and great instincts; has always possessed good hands.
MLB Player Comparison: Orlando Cabrera
Though it's an obscure comparison, Turner reminds me of Orlando Cabrera due to his projection as a long-term shortstop with good defensive chops, plus speed and ability to hit for a solid batting average. Turner won't provide as much over-the-fence power as O-Cab did during his 15-year career, but he still could turn in seasons with double-digit home runs during his prime.
Projection: Second-division shortstop
Major Leagues ETA: Mid-2016
Chances of Signing: 95 percent
Turner represents the best college shortstop in this year’s pitching-heavy draft class, so expect him to sign after he’s drafted in the first round.