Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner won the National League Silver Slugger for shortstops last week, after a season in which he finished second in the league in hits with 101 runs scored and 100 runs batted in. It’s the first Silver Slugger of Trea’s career as he heads into free agency for the first time.
Trea was on MLB Network talking about winning the award, and Yonder Alonso asked him how important the 100 RBIs were for him. Trea’s answer was enlightening.
“I didn’t really care about it that much. But I didn’t realize how hard it was to get 100 [RBIs]. I think depending where you hit in the lineup, even hitting two is tough sometimes to drive in runs. But having that DH in the National League definitely helped out. As the year went on, I took a lot of pride in it. Tried to be a run producer wherever they hit me, because I hit a little third, hit a little second, and moved around a little bit. But I wanted to take pride in driving in runs, and I think I did a pretty good job overall doing that.
“But yeah, I didn’t realize how hard it was until talking to guys, and at the end of the year when a lot of people were congratulating me and what not, it kind of sunk in like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a pretty big deal.’”
Turner drove in 77 runs in 2021, his career high up to that point. It’s not coincidental that 2022 was the first year Turner had fewer than half his plate appearances in the leadoff spot, and it was far less than half — Trea batted leadoff in just 105 of his 708 plate appearances (14.8%). Batting behind Mookie Betts, along with a bottom of the Dodgers order that was among the best in baseball at getting on base, gave Turner 196 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, by far the most of his career, and he batted .315 in those chances.
If anything, Trea is a good example of RBIs being a team stat more than an individual stat, so front offices aren’t going to be looking at the 100 RBIs as a factor in signing him. But if he goes to a team with a less-stacked lineup — especially if he ends up back in the leadoff spot — fans might wonder why his RBI total ends up back in the 60s or 70s.
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