Dodgers: Justin Turner the Underrated National League All-Star

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Justin Turner
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Justin Turner /

The Dodgers struck gold when they signed Justin Turner to a minor league deal in 2014.  Little did they know Turner would work his way into one of the best third basemen in baseball.

When baseball “experts” and fans talk about the best third basemen in baseball, a few National League players come to mind.  Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rendon, Kris Bryant, maybe even Jake Lamb.  The name that doesn’t come up often enough is Justin Turner.  The Dodgers got more than they could have ever imagined when they signed Justin Turner to a minor league deal in 2014.

At the time, Juan Uribe was the Dodgers’ every day third baseman and Turner was supposed to compete for a super utility role.  Turner would play himself into the eventual starting third base role as he hit .340 with 43 RBI’s.  That turned into the starting third base role for 2015 and due to changing his launch angle, Turner turned into a power threat and hit sixteen home runs in 2015.  Every season since 2014, Turner has seen his slugging percentage increase every season.

While Ned Colletti is blamed for a lot of the Dodgers’ failed free-agent signings, he deserves every bit of credit for landing Justin Turner in Los Angeles.  Turner was almost a Boston Red Sox before he was lured home by Colletti and the home-town Dodgers.  If Justin Turner never became a Dodger, who knows where the Dodgers would have turned at third base.

More from LA Dodgers News

Justin Turner wasn’t just content with turning into an every day slugging third baseman, he has also evolved into one of the best fielding third basemen in the league.  Turner routinely makes tough plays with ease and outside of Nolan Arenado, Turner can hang with every other third baseman in the league when it comes to fielding his position.  Turner posted a DRS of 6 last season, and if it weren’t for a few throwing errors, his DRS would have been even better.

In 2017, Justin Turner ranked first in average and on-base percentage among all National League third baseman.  JT also ranked third in OPS and put up some stats pretty identical to Kris Bryant who is often regarded as one of the best third basemen in baseball.  Turner had 71 RBI’s compared to Bryant’s 73 RBI’s despite playing in twenty fewer games than Kris Bryant.  That is about the only knock on Justin Turner, his bad knees have cost him to miss a handful of games each year and made him almost non-existent in the 2017 World Series.

Justin Turner has worked his way from the waiver wire to an underrated All-Star because he is often missed in talks regarding the best third baseman in baseball.  Throw in the fact that Turner is a native of Los Angeles and it’s easy to see how Turner’s meteoric rise has turned him into one of the most loved Dodgers in recent memory.

Next: The Dodgers claimed a hard-throwing bullpen option

Hard nose, grinding out every at-bat, and running out every play, Justin Turner embodies the spirit of the everyday working man.  Hopefully, before this storybook ending is finished, Justin Turner will have a World Series ring to go with a very solid Dodger career.