Turner's meteoric rise worthy of ROY honors

Nats rookie performed like MVP after midseason callup

Turner's meteoric rise worthy of ROY honors

WASHINGTON -- Once he became a regular in the Nationals' lineup, there was perhaps no more electric and exciting player in all of baseball than Trea Turner.

Turner's blazing speed forced opponents into mistakes as he routinely took extra bases and slid safely into stolen bases by a comfortable margin. His sneaky power surprised those around him as he bashed homers at a more prolific rate in the Majors than he did in the Minors. And Turner's athleticism, baseball IQ and work ethic helped him adapt to a new position in center field and handle it well.

If there were ever a case for a player who played less than half a season to win the Rookie of the Year Award, Turner is it. He is one of the finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America's National League Rookie of the Year Award, which will be announced Monday night on MLB Network. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Kenta Maeda are the other two finalists.

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With scant production from the center-field position, the Nats converted Turner from his natural position of shortstop. They gave him a crash course and six games in the Minors before he was promoted to Washington, making him the club's starting center fielder and leadoff hitter on July 19.

From there, Turner played like an MVP candidate as he ignited the Nationals' lineup through the second half of the season. In 73 games, he hit .342/.370/.567 with 147 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) and a 3.5 WAR to provide the spark atop the order Washington so desperately desired. Turner stole 33 bases and was caught stealing just six times, and he also hit eight triples.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Turner's game was his power. He launched 13 home runs in 307 at-bats ater hitting six homers in 331 at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse this year. Turner often smiles when asked about his power, saying it always has been present despite his slender frame (listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds).

That combination of speed, athleticism and power has already made Turner one of the faces of the franchise and could soon make him one of the faces of baseball.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.