Dodgers’ Justin Turner quietly one of baseball’s best hitters since July

Adam Weinrib
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs out his second inning double against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 01, 2022 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Dodgers 5-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 01: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs out his second inning double against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 01, 2022 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Dodgers 5-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Somehow, some way, just as Dodgers fans theorized about moving on from Justin Turner and installing Miguel Vargas on a full-time basis, Turner figured out how to turn back the clock.

Just don’t get him started on 100 MPH throws from shortstop.

The 37-year-old Turner is currently in his final year of security with the Dodgers, with a 2023 team option lingering and begging to be denied by a team that has more offensive weapons than it knows what to do with. There’s always a chance, though, that the two sides come together on a reduced salary, leading to a more graceful ending for this extremely fruitful partnership.

Or … maybe the power-packed Dodgers just say, “F*** it” and give Turner the money he’s earned. Because since a late-June line in the sand (and perhaps spurred on by a little trade deadline-fueled Vargas wake-up call), Turner has been one of the league’s best bats.

His .372 average (entering play Thursday) was the highest in the game for that time frame, and while he hasn’t quite matched the power output of the league’s true elite (he’ll never be Aaron Judge, sadly), there’s still something to be said for this impressive turnaround.

Dodgers’ Justin Turner has been one of MLB’s best hitters since late June

Vargas is just 22, right? Won’t turn 23 until November? Fine. He can wait.

Turner’s been a machine since the summer arrived, pushing his season OPS+ to 109 (which would still be the lowest of his remarkable Dodgers career). This comes after April, May and June OPS+ marks of 39, 101, and 79. JT was a shell of himself in all three months, but catapulted by a spectacular July and a solid August, he’s back to standing out.

And, of course, the tale of Turner’s season wouldn’t be complete without a little home cooking. He’s hit .288 with an .855 OPS at home, powering all nine of his 2022 home runs over the Dodger Stadium fence.

On the road? 55 games, .257 average, zero bombs.

The Dodgers’ lineup doesn’t rely on Turner’s contributions the way it used to, and the electric Mookie Betts and steady Freddie Freeman can shoulder a postseason load better than most.

But the team has really taken off once Turner reengaged with his swing, proving the old man’s still got it, even in his darkest overall campaign.

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