Trea Turner, the 6″1′ shortstop out of North Carolina State has been selected by the San Diego Padres. With the thirteenth overall pick, the Friars picked up a speedster. He is said by scouts to be one of the fastest and most athletic players in the 2014 MLB Draft.
As the Padres continue their struggles at bat, there could be concerns as to whether or not Turner will add any pop to their lineup. As a shortstop, he is a solid as anyone in the draft, but questions may arise about his weaknesses with the bat. While he put up impressive numbers for the Wolfpack this past season, hitting .321 and posting a .516 slugging percentage, there is a lot of room for improvement with Turner, who will most likely sign with the Padres organization.
Trea Turner is a pure shortstop with incredible speed and range, and as he moves through the ranks, he will most likely stay at the middle infield position. Oftentimes, shortstops are drafted but then moved to other positions, but chances are, Turner’s future is in the middle of the diamond. There is no question that Turner is one of the most athletic players, as scouting sites like Perfect Game have rated him as the top athlete and fastest player in college baseball. His speed down to first base has been clocked at 3.42, which would easily make him the fastest, right-handed hitter down to first base. In comparison, the Cincinnati Reds outfielder, Billy Hamilton, who bats from the left side makes it down to first base in 3.35-3.40 seconds. Speed is something that cannot be taught, and if Turner can find his way on base, he becomes a major base-stealing threat for the Padres and their organization.
Speed? Check. Fielding abilities? Check. Hitting? Yet to be determined. As of right now, he looks to be a 10-15 home run per year type of player, and will most likely depend on spraying the ball to all parts of the field to be successful. He is more of a slash hitter who will use his speedster wheels to stretch singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. A great positive for the athletic shortstop, originally out of Lake Worth, Florida is that he battles at the plate and strikes out very little. This is good news for Friars fans, who have seen their current shortstop and leadoff hitter, Everth Cabrera strike out more than any other player in the lineup, and ranks in the top 25 in MLB with 59 strike outs on the season.
What the Padres need is a guy who is solid on the defensive end, but more importantly, they need a player who will get on base and make things happen. Trea Turner becomes a serious threat on the base paths, just as long as he can improve on his ability to get his hands through the zone and get around on opposing pitchers inside heaters. San Diego Padres fans should be excited about the speedster out of North Carolina State, and hopefully as he matures and gets stronger, he can make giant strides in the coming years as he works his way through the ranks and eventually into the Padres lineup.
Commentary by Johnny Caito