The Washington Nationals promoted SS Trea Turner from Triple-A Syracuse and placed 1B/OF Tyler Moore on the disabled list, reportedly because he stepped on a ball during batting practice Thursday evening and sprained his ankle.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Aaron Barrett was transferred to the 60-day DL.
Turner, 22, was hitting .314/.353/.431 at Syracuse with three home runs and 15 RBIs and 14 of 16 steals in 205 plate appearances. He’s had three stops in the minors this season and is a combined .322/.370/.458 in 500 plate appearances.
Turner came to the Nats in the Steven Souza trade, along with Joe Ross, from the San Diego Padres. Up until the last two days, Turner had exclusively played shortstop as a professional. He’s played the last two days at second base in Syracuse, presumably to ensure he could be used as a utility player at the big league level for now.
It’s hard to envision where Turner will get playing time in the bigs at this point, other than pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Ian Desmond was once a strong candidate to be benched, but he has hit .262/.331/.500 with eight homers and 21 RBIs since the All-Star break. Yunel Escobar continues to hit, and between Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa, second base is already pretty crowded.
Turner is athletic, fast and has good baseball instincts. His batting average is propped up by a pretty high BABiP, one that’s unsustainable at the MLB level, but his speed allows him to reach base on a high number of infield hits. He has the range and arm strength to stick at shortstop and while he might not be the second coming of Ozzie Smith, he should play MLB-average defense at the position.
With the Nats still carrying an extra pitcher, this move leaves the Nats with a bench of Jose Lobaton, Clint Robinson, Espinosa and Turner.