By Mike Steffanos
We'll get back to our "Things I Hope to See in 2012" series next time out, but I wanted to take a moment and share a few more thoughts on the second base job that I touched on in part one.
I have a lot of respect for the job that Justin Turner did after being called up last season, but I'm a little surprised that he is seen by many as more than a stopgap solution for the position.
He made a big impression driving in a bunch of runs in May and June last year, but his batting line on the season was .260/.334/.356 and his defense was just adequate -- actually a touch below if you believe advanced fielding stats. I might be missing something, but my impression on Turner's first season with the Mets was of a guy who held his own but hardly looks like a future star.
Even Turner's impressive RBI totals fell quite abruptly as the season wore on. He drove in 33 runs in just over 200 AB through the end of June but only 18 in almost 280 AB the rest of the way. He looked to me like a kid who came up and had a hot couple of months before coming back to earth. He turned 27 in November so he's no kid. I just don't can't buy into the Turner mania.
If Daniel Murphy can hit close to his career major league numbers (.292/.343/.441) at second base he would be well above average offensively for a second baseman. It's worth rolling the dice to see if he can learn to make the basic plays and protect himself on double play turns.
As for Justin Turner, I think he has to get his offensive numbers up just to have a career as a major league utility guy. He was a nice story last year and I'll certainly root for him. I think he's a useful player, but I'd be surprised if he ever turned out to be anything more than that.