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2017 Dodgers review: Justin Turner

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League Championship Series - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Justin Turner had a fourth straight productive season since joining the Dodgers, and in 2017 managed to take things to a new level at the plate.

What went right

Turner made his first All-Star team and was the Dodgers’ best hitter in 2017, batting .322/.415/.530, the first Dodger in 16 years with a .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.

A big key was Turner owning home plate, and I’m not talking about his LA Dodgers-record of 19 times hit by a pitch. After 107 strikeouts and 48 walks in 2016, Turner had just 56 strikeouts and 59 walks this season, one of just five qualified players with more walks than strikeouts.

Justin Turner plate discipline

Year BB% K%
Year BB% K%
2016 7.7% 17.2%
2017 10.9% 10.3%

“When you swing at balls in the zone you have a better chance of getting good results,” Turner said. “When you stay in the zone, usually balls go a lot further than when you’re chasing.”

Power was still prevalent for Turner, with 32 doubles and 21 home runs. He had his second straight summer surge, with 20 of his 21 home runs coming after June 8.

Turner continued to provide plus defense at third base, rated as six runs above average by Defensive Runs Saved, four runs above average by Total Zone Rating, though Ultimate Zone Rating had him at 1.5 runs below average.

In the postseason, Turner drove the Dodgers engine again, hitting .286/.420/.536 with four home runs and a Dodgers-record 14 RBI in 15 games. He was named co-MVP of the NLCS, going 6-for-18 (.333) with two home runs, five walks and seven RBI against the Cubs.

What went wrong

Turner missed 19 games with a right hamstring strain in May and June.

He had just one home run in his first 39 games before that disabled list stint with the hamstring, though that was mitigated by hitting .379 with 13 doubles. Then came the home run surge as mentioned above.

In the World Series Turner was just 4-for-25 (.160), but he did hit the game-winning home run in Game 1, a sixth-inning two-run shot against Dallas Keuchel.

2017 particulars

Age: 32

Stats: .322/.415/.530, 149 OPS+, 151 wRC+, 21 HR, 32 doubles

Salary: $16 million — including a $4 million signing bonus and $12 million for 2017

Game of the year

Turner authored just the second walk-off home run in Dodgers postseason history, and it came on the 29th anniversary of the first one. On Oct. 15, Turner hit a three-run home run to break a ninth-inning tie in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the series. Turner was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game.

“That’s something down the road, hopefully many, many years from now I’ll get to tell stories about,” Turner said.

Roster status

Turner will make $11 million in 2018, the second season of his four-year contract.