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Touching Second

Mike SteffanosThursday, March 15, 2012
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.

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Comments (4)

Hey Mike--welcome back. Great to have some thoughtful discussion going on again. MetsBlog and Amazing Avenue are one think, but they're a bit more for the masses. I mostly agree with you about things I'd like to see in 2012 -- as well as a full, healthy season from Wright. Undoubtedly the moving fences have to help some. I share your concerns about defense at second. If Murphy can hold down the job for a full season and produce numbers we know he's capable of, that only makes Turner more valuable to be able to back up second, third, and if necessary, short or first. As we've seen for several years now, the team is only as good as its health and its depth. So far, health is already showing up as a concern, and we all know there certainly isn't much depth. Still, if we set some realistic numbers, the objective should and could be a .500 team in a very tough division.
Catch up with you some more soon.

Good to hear from you, Steve. I'd be ecstatic with a .500 season.

Like old times, Welcome back Mike. I am really starting to miss Beltran and Reyes. They look so "AA ish" and not with it? Maybe like old times is like 1962 -63 times. It is going to be a long season. Nice to have you back misery loves company.

Al, great to hear from you again. Agree with you on the misery.

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