Dodgers star Justin Turner found himself in a bit of self-crafted controversy this week when he appeared on Barstool’s Starting 9 podcast and put St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn under an unnecessary microscope.
Turner, who referred to Winn as “That Shortstop,” took aim at the 20-year-old’s rocket arm, which he showed off in July’s Futures Game showcase at Dodger Stadium. While Winn was obviously taking the chance to show off on the minor leagues’ biggest stage, Turner took the celebration of his showboating as a chance to gloat about fundamentals, responding, “Who f***ing cares?” to the athletic feat.
On the one hand, Turner is correct that Winn didn’t “need” to uncork his right arm’s full velocity on a routine grounder. On the other, though, he clearly did so to have a viral pop in an All-Star showcase, and making a grand judgment about how many errors he would theoretically create if he whipped baseballs full speed all season long also felt unnecessary (not to mention dismissive).
Plus, there’s the fact that arm strength is celebrated for a reason, like in the glorious case of O’Neil Cruz. Sometimes, it really does get the job done.
Winn was celebrated this week for his defensive prowess, earning Baseball America’s Best Tools distinction as the top defensive shortstop in all of High-A.
And yes, he was also deemed the Best Infield Arm. And yes, he dropped a little note in Turner’s direction afterwards.
Cardinals prospect Masyn Winn doesn’t want Dodgers’ Justin Turner to talk about him
Nothing disarms an argument like the clown head emoji. There’s no coming back from it.
Turner’s point was to get young players to refocus on the fundamentals instead of dropping their jaws at Winn’s potentially-too-dazzling athletic feat. However, it was also clear to see why Winn (and Cardinals fans) found it condescending. Are you saying Winn, a first-rounder and ascending star, has no idea how to control himself? Are you saying that he’s so foolhardy that he’d go for a splash play in a playoff game rather than secure an easy out?
This was an exhibition. The throw vaulted him into mainstream baseball culture. It wasn’t a bad idea, at the time, and has paid lasting dividends. Hell, it got him noticed by Dodgers star Justin Turner!
Turner probably had the best of intentions, but the “Who f***ing cares?” of it all sort of undermines that theory.
Probably best that Wynn gets the accolades this week, of all weeks. Perfect timing to put the lid on this cookie jar once and for all.