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Dodgers: Is It Too Early to Hit the Panic Button on Justin Turner?

The Dodgers might be off to solid start, but Justin Turner had an April to forget. After going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Sunday against the Tigers, Turner’s batting average stands at a paltry .197 on the season. 

For much his Dodgers career, Turner has been known to start each season slowly sometimes. 

Turner’s Career OPS by Month

  • April/March: .750
  • May: .777
  • June: .888
  • July: .853
  • August: .844
  • September/October: .861

This season, Turner has just four extra-base hits and 19.2% strikeout rate. His K-rate is his second highest (21.8% last year) in March and April since becoming an everyday starter for the Dodgers. His 6.4% walk rate is his lowest mark since the 2017 season. However you want to slice it, JT is not seeing the ball well right now.

Could his new batting stance be to blame?

This year, Turner has featured a more open stance with his hands held slightly higher than in years past. Some analysts believe the adjustment is to help the veteran slugger attack pitches in on his hands. One other thought on the open stance is that it allows Turner to not have to crane his neck to get both eyes on the ball.

The new stance has produced a .525 OPS in 19 games.

It’s also produced his lowest average exit velocity (87.2 MPH) since Baseball Savant began tracking the statistic in 2015.

However, the stance isn’t solely to blame. 

When Turner does put the ball in play, he’s been rather unlucky. His BABIP is a snake eyes .228 this year. 

Final Thoughts

There’s a history, a lot longer than 20 games, that suggests what Turner just went through his usual April swoon. In his eight full seasons with the Dodgers, he owns a .877 OPS. His age (37) might be a factor, but JT is a much better hitter than his statistics at the moment.

20 bad games at the plate don’t wash out the other 947.

Turner is bound to turn it around.

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4 Comments

  1. What about Muncy? He is even more anemic at the plate than JT! Hopefully they will both come back to their prior performance within a month or so, or Roberts will need to do something.

  2. Dave may have to move Freddie to the three or fourth spot in the order. Maybe Trea is feeling too much pressure to knock in guys batting third. If he is front of Freeman instead of behind, Freddie could probably easily get 110 to 130 rbi’s. Which would help – Freeman overall figures to be the team’s most productive guy at the plate.