Fear not New York Mets fans. Even if Bryce Harper leaves the Washington Nationals, there’s still someone on their roster to dislike for years to come. His name is Trea Turner.
Maybe hate is too strong of a word. Those who remember John Rocker will surely attest to how powerful hate really is.
Whatever word you choose to describe the way Mets fans feel about Harper, there’s no love involved.
Should Harper choose to leave the Nationals after the 2018 season, the Mets will lose a villain. He could always stay in the National League East and join the Philadelphia Phillies. Whatever he does, the Mets will learn to dislike his teammate Trea Turner even more.
Sure, Harper can smash broken back home runs off Jacob deGrom on a yearly basis. It’s what Turner does that is far more agitating.
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For those unfamiliar with Turner, he’s the Nationals shortstop and a true pest if there ever was one. He’s one of the fastest men in baseball. Turner’s speed and aggressive base running tears holes in the game-plan. He embarrasses pitchers and catchers regularly. Until the Mets can learn to hold runners on better, he’s going to become a big pain.
Staying healthy is Turner’s major weakness. When he is on the field, Turner’s legs lead him.
In his first 215 MLB games, Turner has already swiped 88 bags. This gives him an average of 66 per 162 games. As someone yet to reach the 100 games played mark in a single-season, we’re not really even quite sure how far he can take his baserunning abilities. The 2018 season could be the opportunity he has been looking for.
Mets catchers have had a reputation for their inability to throw out runners. Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki were horrible in this area in 2017. Although they didn’t get much help from the pitching staff, some responsibility does fall on them.
Turner isn’t Ricky Henderson, but he is one of the league’s premier base stealers. He’s Dee Gordon with more power and Billy Hamilton with a higher batting average. Turner is a star in the making and a guy I see giving the Mets problems for years to come.
Worst of all, Turner is the kind of player the Mets need. They don’t have a young Jose Reyes who can run all over the place. This is a slow team relying on three-run home runs to power the offense. A guy like Turner wins games for his team by smart base running and taking the extra bag whenever possible.
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Players like these are easy to dislike. Give it enough time, maybe Mets fans can even grow to hate him.