The Philadelphia Phillies have not had an ideal start to their 2023 campaign, and despite how last year ended in spite of a slow beginning, it’s not exactly comforting to watch this highly talented roster struggle through April and May. One of the chief catalysts of the struggle for the Phillies this season has been the newest superstar in the city, Trea Turner is off to a very non-Trea Turnerish start to his time in Philly. Turner, who is the reigning 1st Team All-MLB Shortstop, is slashing .262/.308/.399. He’s struck out 52 times already this year, putting him on pace for nearly 200 strikeouts this season. For reference, Turner has never struck out more than 132 times in any season in his career. His defense has also been shaky at points, which is more of a footnote when compared to his offensive numbers, but still worth mentioning. So, what in the world is going on with the Phillies’ new $300 million man?
Nothing we need to be overly concerned about. I’m not exactly sure what to point to in order to explain Turner’s rough start to the year. It could be the fact that his swing path looks elevated, leading to more fly balls and strikeouts, it could be the moves around the lineup, or it could just be some early season pressures of a huge contract and a new city. What I do know, though, is that Turner is fine, and there’s history to show that point as well. I have to give credit where credit is due, John Foley put out the below tweet the other day that was the inspiration for this post. He’s a great follow on Twitter for any and all Phillies fans:
Through their first 43 games as Phillies…
Realmuto: .273/.331/.435, 5 HR, 0 SB, 35 K
Harper: .221/.365/.429, 7 HR, 1 SB, 58 K
Schwarber: .194/.308/.426, 10 HR, 2 SB, 58 K
Castellanos: .243/.313/.400, 5 HR, 2 SB, 44 K
Turner: .262/.308/.399, 4 HR, 5 SB, 52 K
— John Foley (@2008Philz) May 18, 2023
Just look at those numbers. Realmuto, Harper, Schwarber, and Castellanos all had pedestrian to downright bad starts to their time with the Phillies. Now, would it be nicer if the stars that this team signed/traded for started out hot instead of ice cold? Absolutely it would be. But, in reality, Turner’s start is not an anomaly. In fact, it’s very much the norm. In football, a slump for a quarter of a season can cost a player a job. In basketball, a shooting slump of 40 games means you’re out of the league. In hockey, you can’t go this long without producing or you’ll find yourself in the AHL. But this is baseball, the sport of longevity. The ultimate “water finds its level” sport. So be patient, both with the Phillies and with Trea Turner. He’ll pay us all back in the long run.