Dodgers 2018 Player Review: Justin Turner
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Turner had a career season for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, developing into one of the best and most reliable hitters in all of baseball.

Turner went into the 2018 season looking to repeat that, but it looked like the opportunity was taken away from him before he ever got the chance. While in the midst of a monster Spring Training, Turner got hit with a pitch by Oakland Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman near the end of Cactus League play.

The pitch struck Turner right in the left wrist, fracturing it and causing him to miss the first six weeks of the regular season.

The Dodgers struggled greatly to begin the year without their best hitter, and their turnaround coincided directly with Turner’s return to the lineup in the middle of May.

In Turner’s third game of the season, on May 17, against the Miami Marlins, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and five RBI, which tied a career high. The Dodgers won 7-0 that day and then went on to win four straight and seven of their next eight.

That was instrumental to the team digging themselves out of a 16-26 hole en route to winning their sixth straight National League West title title.

Turner got off to a bit of a slow start offensively, but in the second half, he was one of the best hitters in the league. In 103 total games on the season, he hit .312/.406/.518 with 31 doubles, 14 home runs and 52 RBI.

In 55 games after the All-Star break, Turner batted .356/.447/.619.

Known as one of the best postseason hitters of his generation, Turner had another strong October for the Dodgers in 2018. He only hit one home run this time around, but he slashed .299/.373/.388 in 16 games.

2018 Highlight

Turner may have only hit one home run in the postseason in 2018, but it was a big one. With the Dodgers trailing 1-0 in the NL Championship Series to the Milwaukee Brewers, they were just six outs away from falling down 2-0 in the series.

The Brewers had All-Star reliever Jeremy Jeffress on the mound with a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning at Miller Park. Turner stepped to the plate with a runner on first base and proceeded to lift a two-run home run to left field to give the Dodgers a decided 4-3 lead.

Los Angeles went on to win the game and series in seven games to advance to the World Series for the second straight season, although they were later defeated by the Boston Red Sox.

2019 Outlook

Turner still has two years remaining on the four-year, $64 million contract he signed with the Dodgers before the 2017 season, so he heads into 2019 as the team’s starting third baseman.

Barring any injuries in Spring Training, which will be something to keep an eye on this March after what happened a year ago, Turner should be in for another monster season.