Traynor struggling after mega contract, what’s causing his batting slump?
After signing an 11-year, $300 million mega-deal with last season’s runner-up Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2023 season, top shortstop Trey Turner was expected to solve Philadelphia’s long-standing shortstop woes, but his recent struggles have been alarming바카라사이트.
So far this season, Turner hasn’t lived up to his big payday, hitting just .248 with a .692 OPS, eight home runs, 28 RBI, 15 doubles, and a wRC+ of 86. He hasn’t even come close to matching San Diego’s Ha-Sung Kim, who is known more for his defense than his bat, with a .251 OPS, .739 batting average, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs this season.
After a breakout performance at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), where he posted a staggering 1.483 OPS and won the tournament’s home run title, he was expected to continue his form as one of the league’s top run producers this season, but so far he’s looked like a continuation of the Phillies’ shortstop atrocities from the 2010s.
His plate discipline has suffered, his ability to make contact has deteriorated, and his fundamentals are shaky.
At the root of Turner’s serious slump this season is a decline in his plate discipline. Turner’s percentage of swings outside the strike zone began to rise last year and is among the highest in the league this season (28% career average vs. 37% this season).
With such a shaky start, Turner has seen an increase in swings and misses at pitches outside the strike zone this season, which has led to an increase in his strikeout rate and a decrease in the overall quality of his at-bats (compare hard-hit percentage: 44% average over the last two seasons to 40% in season 23).
Turner’s swinging strike rate, which was consistently better than league average, also began to deteriorate last season and is now near the bottom of the league at 30% this season. (Turner’s career average is 24%).
His swing rate on pitches inside the strike zone has also increased significantly (career average swing rate on pitches inside the strike zone: 14% -> 20% in season 23), so it’s no wonder he’s struggling with pitches inside the strike zone and swinging at pitches outside the strike zone so often.
Weaker response to four-seam fastballs, missing hit-maker
In addition to a decline in his ability to locate and make contact, Turner’s struggles against four-seam fastballs have been a major factor in his prolonged struggles this season.
Turner’s OPS against four-seam fastballs is a dismal 0.615 this season (career OPS against four-seam fastballs is 0.943), and his fly ball rate is the highest it’s been in his career, as he’s hit more fly balls against four-seam fastballs than he did last year (23% career average fly ball rate -> 32% in season 23).
Flyballs are less likely to become hits than line drives or grounders, and with Turner’s speed, he’s led the league in infield hits (68) over the last two years, so the increase in his missed flyball rate is devastating. If this trend continues against four-seam fastballs, it’s hard to see him escaping the slump this season.
After falling to fourth place in the NL East at the start of the season, largely due to Turner’s struggles, the Phillies have gone 15-7 since June, closing the gap between them and the postseason berths to three games, just as they did last season when they were World Series runners-up.
With such a tight midseason race, the Phillies have the potential to repeat their World Series victory from last season if Turner returns to form. It will be interesting to see if Turner, who fell into a deep slump after his WBC breakout, can overcome the weaknesses that have been exposed this season and restore his reputation as the best shortstop in the MLB.