Sep 10, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Justin Turner (2) takes a pitch during the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mets Season In Review: Justin Turner

Justin Turner has been a Met since 2010 (when he appeared in only four games). He has been the quintessential utility player, having played all infield positions, and even one game in left field. Turner has also served as the team’s designated hitter. The 2013 season was no different for Justin, as he saw action in 86 games, at 6 different positions (including DH). Turner’s versatility has given Terry Collins options, both late in games, and to rest key players during the dog days of the long season. Let’s take a look at Justin Turner by the numbers.

How He Did At The Plate:

Last season, Turner hit .280 through 200 official at bats. He had an on-base percentage of .319, and an OPS of .704. Turner hit 1 home run and drove in 16 runs. His 2013 numbers were similar to those of his other years in blue and orange. He hit .260 in 2011, and .269 in 2012. Essentially, Turner is a steady offensive player. He will hit for a respectable average, with little power. He is not a stolen base threat. He provides a right-handed bat off the bench, and can start at many positions if needed. Turner seems to be a favorite of Terry Collins, who often refers to Turner as a “baseball player”.

How He Did In The Field:

As a utility player, Turner does not really have a position, per se. He’s a natural second baseman, however, he played more games at third in 2013 (23) than he did at any other position. This is the case primarily due to David Wright‘s hamstring injury in early August. Turner played shortstop 18 times, first base 15 times, and second base 12 times last year. The small number of games at each position reduces the value of the fielding percentage statistic. It should be noted, though, that Turner did post a 1.000 fielding percentage at shortstop, and a respectable .968 and .989 fielding percentage at third and second base respectively. Turner will generally not make spectacular plays, but he can be counted on the make the routine play, no matter where he is on the field.

Areas To Improve Upon:

Turner performs his assigned role well. He does not possess any outstanding skills, nor does he have any glaring weaknesses. The one area upon which Turner can improve is taking his versatility to even higher levels. He can achieve this by continuing to work on his outfield play, so he can provide yet another option to increase his value to the team.

Projected Role For 2014:

Turner is not a player who is going to grow into a starting role. To use a cliché, he is what he is. If he is a Met next year, he’ll once again be a utility player. There is one thing to consider when contemplating the Mets’ bench for 2014. Many teams prefer to stock their benches with players who bring a specific offensive skill to the table, namely power or speed. Think about the Braves’ Evan Gattis (power), the Phillies’ Freddy Galvis (speed). Turner, while a steady performer, does not provide a dynamic presence coming off the bench. As the Mets think about their spare parts for next year, Turner certainly can be an option, but an upgrade should not be out of the question either.

Contract Status And Trade Rumors:

Turner is arbitation eligible after the 2014 season, and can be a free agent after the 2017 season. As a role player, his name does not regularly come up in trade rumors. However, if the Mets do seek to upgrade their bench, Turner, due to his versatility and comfort within his role, may be a candidate to be traded.

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