Turning the Corner: Do the New York Mets Finally Have a 2B in Justin Turner?

Alex HallCorrespondent IIIJune 3, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Jose Reyes #7 and Justin Turner of the New York Mets fail to catch the ball against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

On top of the countless off-field issues the New York Mets have had over the past few seasons, one of their biggest on-field problems has been finding a productive second basemen.

After several seasons with the Mets, management decided it was time to cut ties with starting second basemen Luis Castillo before entering into the 2011 campaign. New York traded for Castillo in the middle of the 2007 season and got some decent production from the former Florida Marlin. However, after that half-season with New York, Castillo was nothing short of disappointing, both offensively and defensively, and his contract was ultimately terminated this past March.

This transitioning phase at the second base position would open the door for Justin Turner. Who's Justin Turner you ask?

He's a former member of the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles organizations and the May NL Rookie of the Month. He now holds the Mets rookie record for most consecutive games with an RBI.

Turner has been one of the few offensive power sources for a Mets ball club that currently has Ike Davis and David Wright on the disabled list, as well as a struggling Jason Bay in the batting order. In 31 games this season, Turner has a impressive .314 batting average, 22 RBI, nine doubles and two home runs.

The Mets have had to fight and claw for every run scored this year in the tough NL East division, with the resurrected Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Turner carrying the majority of the offensive load this past month. For the fans and New York management alike, seeing Turner put up such impressive numbers in May has to be a ray of light; they can only hope for him to continue his month-long outburst of productivity.

It's still too early to say that Turner is the future at second base for the Mets, but assuming he has a year somewhere in the range of 15 homers and 60 RBI with a .280 batting average, it'd be safe to say he earned himself the starting job for next season.

Through his three seasons in Triple-A, Turner consistently produced batting averages in the .300 range and was a solid RBI guy. He may not be a prospect with the potential of a Bryce Harper or Eric Hosmer, but he certainly can provide some consistent offensive production for a Mets team that will be looking to rebuild around younger talent.