Mack Ade – Justin Turner – The Mets Future Leftfielder?
Terry Collins made a passing remark last month that just may reposition the Mets primary utility infielder into the outfield for 2013.
Justin Turner has been the perfect Met, especially in both the dugout and the clubhouse. If someone is doing something well on this team, hang around because turner will be there soon with a plate full of whipped cream. His production was down near the end of the season (August: .222, September: .214); however, he still finished the season with a respectful stat line: .269/.319/.392/.711.
Turner’s arrival in Queens had some bumps. He was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2005 (29th round), but chose not to sign and returned to Cal State Fullerton as a senior. This was followed a year later with a 7th round pick by Cincinnati plus a $50,000 bonus offer. He played three years in the Red chain but, in December 2008, was traded with UT Ryan Freel and IF Brandon Waring to Baltimore for catcher Ramon Hernandez
Turner had a wonderful year in 2009 playing second base for the Orioles AAA affiliate, Norfolk (387AB, .300/.362/.388/.749), but he simply never got a real shot for the parent team (18-AB in 2009, 9-AB in 2010). He was release in 2010 and the Mets claimed him off waivers and assigned him to AAA-Buffalo.
Once again, he proved his ability at the AAA level, going: .333/.390/.516/.906 in 312-AB. He was then named in 2011 as one of the utility infielder of the Mets; however, due to injuries to both David Wright (3B) and Daniel Murphy (2B) managed to carve out 435-AB, hitting .260/.334/.356/.690. Turner was named the NL Rookie of the Month for May 2011. He is the first Met to win the award since its creation in 2001.
Turner is a right-handed hitter; however, his splits over the past three seasons (2010-2012) are only .230 against lefties but .271 vs. righties. His role in 2012 was greatly diminished without any formal explanation by either Collins or Sandy Alderson. Most write it off to his returning to a primary utility role, while others have questioned the projected longevity of his future role.
Obviously, his .188/.241/.288/.529 stat line in winter ball isn’t doing him any good, but don’t count the biggest Mets fan out yet. I contacted him via Twitter and he responded back within an hour:
Mack Ade @JohnMackinAde 29 Dec - @redturn2 - writing a feature on you... turning you into the Mets LFer in 2013...
Justin Turner @redturn2 - @JohnMackinAde i'll do anything to get in the lineup everyday
That’s the Justin Turner we all know and love and my money is on him come the spring.