Los Angeles Dodgers: Unlikely heroes of the 2010s

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Justin Turner
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 15: Justin Turner /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 15: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 in game two of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Justin Turner

The most unlikely hero of the 2010s for the Dodgers is Justin Turner.  Like Max Muncy, Justin Turner was a castoff who worked himself into one of the game’s best hitters.  The New York Mets made the mistake of non-tendering Justin Turner after the 2013 season although to be fair, JT’s rise to fame was something that few scouts and coaches could have seen.  Now it’s a mistake they’ll regret for years.

Turner was signed by former Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti to be a utility player but he transformed himself into much more.  Juan Uribe was the Dodgers’ third-base starter at the time but due to injuries, Turner received plenty of playing time in 2013 and hit .340 in 288 at-bats.  He solidified his spot in the starting lineup in 2014 by hitting 16 home runs with a .294 average.  Ever since, the hot corner has been Justin’s spot in the everyday lineup.

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Game two of the NLCS has become Justin Turner’s game as he hit two big home runs in game two of the 2017 and 2018 NLCS.  In game two of the 2017 NLCS, Turner slugged a walk-off home run against the Chicago Cubs to give the Dodgers a commanding 2-0 lead in the NLCS.  His home run off John Lackey propelled LA to their first World Series title since 1988.

The second big home run in game two of the NLCS came in 2018 against the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Dodgers were down one game to zero in the series and trailed 3-2 in the eighth inning staring straight at a 2-0 series deficit against the Brewers’ vaunted bullpen.  JT lifted a two-run homer over the left-field fence that gave the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish.

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The Dodgers eventually won the series in seven games to advance to their second straight World Series.  Justin Turner is entering the last season of his contract in 2020 so make sure to appreciate what Turner has done during his time in Los Angeles.  It has been a stellar career turnaround for one of the hardest-working players in the game.  A true unlikely hero.