What Happened In 2017: Was a key part of the Dodger lineup, and had one of his best seasons to date.
Justin Turner was one of the Dodgers’ offseason priorities heading into 2017. In December, they signed the third baseman to a four-year, $64 million contract. What followed was a thoroughly excellent season.
One bizarre thing about Turner’s 2017 was that he hit just one home run in all of April and May combined — yet he finished the year with 21 total. As for April, he finished the month with a .562 slugging percentage (and a 1.026 OPS). That’s a testament to both how many hits he was getting, and how many were for extra bases — 11 of Turner’s 36 April hits were doubles.
Turner went down with a hamstring injury in mid-May, which took him out for nearly four weeks. When he returned on June 9, it was like he hadn’t missed a beat, homering in his first game back and OPSing 1.211 on the month.
Turner had one of the best offensive first halves in the National League, if not in baseball, heading into the All-Star break with the fourth-highest OPS in MLB (behind just Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Joey Votto, which is not bad company to be in at all).
Although Turner didn’t make the All-Star Game roster outright, he did make the Final Ballot, competing against four other players for the last remaining NL spot. Dodger fans mobilized to vote for their guy, and, at the age of 32, Turner made his very first All-Star Game after all. He only played one inning, and only got one at-bat, but just seeing him there was pretty amazing, and clearly very meaningful to him.
Turner continued to perform well for the remainder of the season. Even in his worst month (August), he still OPS’d .800. Not bad for a guy who once got non-tendered by the Mets. (Sorry, that’ll never not be funny.)
When the time came for the postseason, Turner shone, as he has for his entire Dodger career. He reached base in seven of his 15 NL Division plate appearances, and drove in five runs (though all were in Game 1). Turner was even better in the NL Championship Series, going 6-for-18 with two home runs and seven RBIs (and also walking five times). The highlight was his walkoff home run in Game 2 — which, as you may remember, came on the anniversary of Kirk Gibson‘s legendary World Series walkoff.
Turner was such a crucial part of the Dodgers’ success in that round that he received the honor of co-MVP (along with Chris Taylor).
During the World Series, Turner took a bit of a step back, though that was true for most of the Dodgers not named Joc Pederson. Turner was responsible for this cool moment in Game 1, though:
2018 Status: Entering his age-33 season, and year two of his four-year contract.