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Why Trea Turner is perfect fit at the top of Phillies’ lineup as NL champs sign All-Star shortstop

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Phyllis made a big splash on Monday afternoon with the signing of free agent shortstop Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300 million deal. The initial reaction here is that he is perfect for this powerful lineup.

Last season, the Phillies ranked fifth in the NL in on-base percentage, OPS, and runs, while ranking fourth in home runs and third in slugging. We all saw the positive side of the offense as they fought their way to Game 6 of the World Series before losing to the Astros. The main problems were sometimes the bottom third of the line-up and the lack of a real leader.

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Kyle Schwarber was the first hitter, and while he was great in the NLCS and World Series, he wasn’t a typical setter. In the regular season, Schwarber had a .323 percentage on base, which was above the league average of .312, but likely a little lower than a top team in the lead would like. He also led the majors in strikeouts (200) and led the NL with 46 home runs.

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Turner hit base with a .343 clip, hit .298 (compared to Schwarber’s .218 average), made more contact and was 27-of-30 in stolen bases.

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Turner’s advantage, of course, is that he doesn’t have to the top. It wasn’t there last year. He was a three-hole hitter for a team that won 111 games. He had 39 doubles, four triples, 21 home runs, 100 RBIs and 101 runs. He is an all-around superstar. Since Turner is essentially replacing Gene Segura in the Phillies lineup, he makes them more powerful and could fit into the middle of the order if they choose to go down that path.

However, Turner is best suited to top this Phillies roster. Let’s run it.

The Phillies may not have finished building up their offseason high-scoring players yet, but once they’re at full strength, next season’s roster will be more balanced. Once Bryce Harper returns from Tommy John surgery (probably sometime in June or July – the team says that will be during the All-Star break), here’s a general outline of how manager Rob Thomson could do it:

1. Treya Turner, SS
2. Bryce Harper, DH
3. J. T. Realmuto, C
4. Kyle Schwarber, LF
5. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
6. Nick Castellanos, RF
7. Alec Bohm, 3B
8. Bryson Stott, 2B
9. Brandon Marsh, CF

This group has serious potential. We know what Turner, Harper, Realmuto and Schwarber are capable of. Hoskins is far better suited to a five-hole game than any of the top four spots, and reaching 100-RBI for the first time in his career is achievable.

Let’s not forget that 2022 was a bad year for Castellanos by his standards. He hit .286 with a .853 OPS (122 OPS+) over the previous six seasons. In 2021, he hit .309 with 138 OPS+, 34 homers and 100 RBI. Last season, he dropped to .263/.305/.389 (95 OPS+) with 13 homers. In March of this year, he will turn 31, so age does not mean that it is time for him to finish. Possible recovery season.

Is that the bottom third of the order? It will be much better.

Turner’s acquisition puts everyone down one spot, and Bohm down to the bottom third. He’s gearing up for his second full season at age 26, and it’s reasonable to believe a breakthrough is coming. Stott was a rookie last year and was previously a top 100 prospect. He hit .276/.331/.404 in the second half after going .188/.255/.307 in the first half, so it’s also reasonable to expect him to have a much better offensive season. Marsh was 24 years old and a former Top 40 prospect. He hit .288 with 116 OPS+ after the Phillies acquired him in a trade.

The National League champions have more work to do in the off-season and have done better in the playoffs than in the regular season. They will have to survive without one of the most important parts of their offense with Harper on the shelf to start the season too.

However, they survived without Harper for about two months in the last regular season, and that roster is now much more balanced thanks to the addition of Turner. And then once we get to the August days, the Phillies have a pretty impressive lineup.

Now it all starts with Turner, in front of the power forwards. On Monday, the NL champions had another big day.


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