The third base position in Major League Baseball is as strong as ever, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best in the game in Justin Turner, who was ranked No. 7 in ESPN’s Buster Olney’s list of top 10 third basemen going into the 2018 season.
If Turner played any other position he would likely be higher, but the six players ahead of him, Nolan Arenado, Jose Ramirez, Anthony Rendon, Kris Bryant, Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson, are all perennial All-Stars and MVP candidates. He moved up a spot in Olney’s rankings, as going into 2017 he was ranked eighth.
Turner is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he finished with the third-highest batting averaging in the NL, hitting .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs.
He was particularly productive in the first half of the season, as Turner carried a .377/.473/.582 slashline with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs into the break. It earned Turner a spot in his his first career All-Star Game by virtue breaking the record in the Final Vote.
Turner went on to have a memorable postseason for the Dodgers, hitting .462 in the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks and then followed that up by batting .333 in the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, earning NLCS Co-MVP honors along with Chris Taylor.
Turner hit the second postseason walk-off home run in franchise history, doing so in Game 2 against the Cubs by taking John Lackey deep to center.
The 33-year-old signed a four-year, $64 million contract last winter to remain with the Dodgers, cashing in after three strong campaigns after they signed him to a Minor League contract. Turner looks to again anchor the heart of the lineup this season as a steady presence.
In his four seasons with the Dodgers, Turner has hit .303/.378/.502 with 113 doubles, 71 home runs and 264 RBIs in 516 games.