Scouting Report: What the Toronto Blue Jays are getting in Justin Turner
By Nick Prasad
26 days agoThe Toronto Blue Jays have made a move on the open market, adding veteran infielder Justin Turner to a one-year contract.
As fans were expecting a power move by the Blue Jays, this may have come as random and questionably out of the water. Although the 39-year-old is no Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, or even Jorge Soler, there are some minor but important pointers about Turner before we dive into his scouting report.
When it comes to playing in the ultra-competitive AL East, experience is key, with a feeling for how to play in front of big, aggressive crowds in cities like Boston and New York and also on the Rogers Centre’s often-frustrating artificial turf being a critical aspect of success. Turner comes with various years of playoff experience inclusive of multiple deep runs and World Series appearances during his time with the L.A. Dodgers.
Justin Turner Scouting Report and Analysis
Let’s start with his numbers from the 2023 season when playing with the Boston Red Sox. Turner posted a .276 batting average with a .345 on-base percentage and a .455 slugging percentage. Over 558 at-bats, Turner recorded 154 hits, smashed 23 home runs, and drove in 96 runs. He scored 86 times, while 31 of his hits put him directly into scoring position.
Now, statistic dwellers will look at these numbers without the context of his analytic ability and determine that he’s not an ideal fit for Toronto’s lineup. Contrary to common belief, Turner will pan out to be a successful hitter who fills into the designated hitter slot while also spending time at first base.
Turner is a big swing guy who will take risks with hacks if offered the green light in situations. Very rarely will he let you slide a first-pitch fastball for a strike without offering at it in aggression. He’s a barrel abuser, he’ll put the bat on the ball on the sweet spots of the wood and will either scorch it pull-side over the wall or will wait back and use the opposite field to get on base. He’s able to protect the outside part of the plate and is able to clear the inside part using his bat speed and keeping his hands inside of the ball. In 2023, 21 of his 23 home runs were left field or left-center, and only two dingers touched right-center. His spray chart for singles populates a good amount of the field.
Turner recorded 454 batted balls of 2670 pitches seen. His average exit velocity was 89.3mph with his max being 108.2mph. He has a launch angle of 16.4 and a hard-hit percentage of 38.7%. Turner naturally will have more strikeouts than walks being the aggressive swinger he is, however this has to be better. He struck out 110 times and walked 51 times for a 17.6% strikeout rate and an 8.1% walk rate. His spray chart percentages are pretty well spread out, making it more challenging for infield coaches to pinpoint the fielder’s placements. Turner was 35% pull-side, 37.1% straight-away, and 27.8% opposite field.
Defensively, Turner is capable of handling the corner infield but will likely wind up also seeing some time at third base if the Blue Jays don’t ultimately re-sign Matt Chapman. He played 58 games on the infield while slotted 98 times as the designated hitter. In 58 games he recorded only six total errors and ranged a .842-1.000 fielding percentage. Though Turner is largely here for his bat, his defence is also part of the equation, as the ability to play third base makes him more valuable than Brandon Belt was to the team in the same role last year.
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