Trea Turner’s ability to break the game with his speed is set to become more valuable than it has ever been, making this the ideal offseason for him to become a free agent.

Turner’s real elite speed already provides him a skill that differentiates him from all of the other top free agents in this year’s class, and most importantly, the other top free-agent shortstops. In other words, Turner’s speed sets him apart from the competition. And with rule changes coming to MLB in 2023 that should encourage more stealing — bigger bases that will reduce the distance between them, limits on the number of pickoff throws — the team that gets Turner will get an even bigger competitive advantage at the top of the lineup. These rule changes include bigger bases that will reduce the distance between them.

Notable free agents by 2022 sprint speed
Trea Turner — 30.3 ft/sec
— Elite speed threshold: 30+ ft/sec —
Brandon Nimmo — 28.7 ft/sec
Dansby Swanson — 28.4 ft/sec
Xander Bogaerts — 27.9 ft/sec
Jean Segura — 27.7 ft/sec
Willson Contreras — 27.6 ft/sec
Aaron Judge — 27.3 ft/sec
Carlos Correa — 27.1 ft/sec

The 29-year-old player is by far the fastest free agent, and he is in the best position of any free agent to take advantage of those regulation changes for the following season. Now, let’s take a look at how the game is affected by the speed that Turner possesses.

BASE STEALING

Turner is a phenomenally accomplished base thief, as evidenced by the fact that he has twice led the league in stolen bases. During this season, he had a 90% success rate on his steal attempts, going 27 for 30.

Turner is almost impossible to catch because of his ability to quickly accelerate to an elite top speed even when he is doing something as simple as moving from base to base. In 2022, he stole about a third of the bases he attempted, reaching the elite 30-plus feet-per-second speed criteria on virtually all of those steals. When compared to everyone else, he had twice as many steals at exceptional speed.

The majority of SB with a sprint speed of 30 feet or more per second, 2022

1. Trea Turner: 8
2. Julio Rodríguez: 4
3. (tie) Bubba Thompson / Terrance Gore: 3
5. (tie) Byron Buxton / Tim Locastro / Jorge Mateo: 2

Now pitchers are going to be limited in how they hold him on, and he is going to have 4 and a half inches less to run. This may not seem like a big deal, but stolen bases are decided by fractions of a second, so those 4 and a half inches may make a difference for one of the fastest players in baseball. It’s possible that Turner may be much harder to get a hold of than he was previously.

Let’s take a look at the instances in which Turner had to rely on his speed to steal the bag — say, the top half of his stolen bases. This means that we won’t be include the ones in which he received a massive jump, or the catcher didn’t get a throw off, and he didn’t need to run all-out to grab the bag.

His sprint speed during those “maximum effort” steals was exactly 30.0 feet per second on average. He was the only base runner that could average exceptional speed on the top half of his runs, and he was the only player to do so.

Fastest avg. “max-effort” SB sprint speed, 2022
Min. 5 SB
1. Trea Turner: 30.0 ft/sec
2. (tie) Bubba Thompson / Tim Locastro: 29.9 ft/sec
4. Julio Rodríguez: 29.8 ft/sec
5. Garrett Mitchell: 29.7 ft/sec

BASE HITS

Turner is considered to be a top-tier free agent due to the fact that he has proven himself to be an excellent power-speed threat and one of the most consistent hitters in the area. He has a lifetime batting average of.302 and won the batting title in 2021.

This batting average is more of a reflection of his speed than of his ability with the bat alone.

Turner capitalizes on his quickness to rack up a significant number of hits. However, the Statcast data will provide you with that information. The stat sheet will not. Only during this season, Turner collected 34 hits in which he attained an exceptional sprint speed of more than 30 feet per second. This is more than one and a half times as many as any other hitter.

The most impacts with a sprint speed of more than 30 feet per second, 2022

1. Trea Turner: 34
2. (tie) Bobby Witt Jr. / Jake McCarthy: 21
4. Amed Rosario: 20
5. (tie) Bubba Thompson / Jorge Mateo: 18

This is something that Turner conducts on an annual basis. Let’s take a look at Turner’s performance during the past three seasons, during which he ranks first in the Major Leagues with 467 hits. On 77 of those impacts, he has a sprint pace that is at least 30 feet per second faster than his opponent. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, this is more than double the number of elite-speed hits recorded by any other player.

These hits could be infield hits, which could result in an out for a slower player than Turner, or they could be a double or triple, which a slower player than Turner might not be able to stretch into extra bases. Thirteen of Turner’s hits with a sprint speed of thirty feet per second or faster are extra-base hits.

The most hits during the past three seasons at a sprint speed of more than 30 feet per second

  1. Trea Turner, 77 years of age (13 XBH)
  2. Amed Rosario, 35 years of age (2 XBH)
  3. Jose Altuve: 31 (0 XBH)
  4. Jorge Mateo, age thirty (12 XBH)
  5. Starling Marte: 29 (3 XBH)

It is possible that the hit is the result of his speed, or it is possible that his speed makes an existing hit more effective. If a team were to sign Turner, they would not only be getting a speedy base-stealer, but also a fast bat on their roster. That is very significant.

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