Dodgers 2019 Player Reviews: Justin Turner
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hits a sacrifice fly
Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

In a lineup that features Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Alex Verdugo, Justin Turner provides the Los Angeles Dodgers with a productive bat from the right side of the plate.

“You never want to say one player is more important or you value one player more than the other, but I think if you look at the consistency of at-bats; understanding what you’re trying to do each at-bat. Whether it be run a pitch count up or hunt a pitch to ambush, we don’t have anyone more consistent than J.T.,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this season.

“He allows for guys in front and behind him to take their at-bats. There’s many times where he’ll concede pitches to go in grind mode for the benefit of the club. His value, I can’t undersell that.”

Turner’s approach anchored the lineup while he also played steady defense at third base and served as one of the leaders in the Dodgers clubhouse. This past season Matt Beaty and Will Smith joined the chorus of players who praised Turner for sharing his insight to hitting and being a mentor.

In terms of his own production, Turner finished the year batting .290/.372/.509 with 24 doubles, 27 home runs and 67 RBI over 135 games. Like in previous years Turner heated up as the season wore on — he had one home run through the first week of May.

Turner then slugged a career-best three homers on May 7, added another the following night, and later hit a combined 17 during July and August. While his power was the subject of plenty of fodder, Turner maintained he’s never considered himself a home run hitter.

He concluded August with a season-high tying three-hit performance but the month of September saw him shelved initially due to a sprained left ankle and also because of back tightness.

Roberts downplayed his level of concern with Turner being held out of the lineup and expressed confidence rust would not be an issue come the postseason. That held true as Turner went 6-for-21 with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in five games during the National League Division Series.

2019 highlight

Two months after his three-run home run game, Turner accomplished another milestone as he reached 100 career home runs hit with the Dodgers. His three-run blast served as the difference for the Dodgers in their 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

2020 outlook

Turner is projected to head into next season still as the starting third baseman, but that could change. The 35-year-old said he would accept a move from his natural position if the Dodgers were to acquire another third baseman.

Next season also is the last of a four-year contract Turner signed after the 2016 campaign.

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