Back in 2009 and 2010, an infielder named Justin Turner played for the Baltimore Orioles. (And, he didn’t have the beard).
He only played in 17 games with the Baltimore Orioles before he was sent off to the New York Mets.
As a September call-up in 2009, Turner did not look like the same player that he has become. But looking back at his early days with the Orioles is a good reminder that young player do need time to develop.
Why he’s so special right now
Turner’s walk-off home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers was an exercise in clutch hitting. It was special not because he hit it, but because of the anniversary it happened to commemorate. Twenty-nine years ago, to the day, Kirk Gibson, legendary Dodger and Tiger, did the same thing to get the 1988 Dodgers the win over Dennis Eckersley with the Oakland A’s. Turner seemed to be fully aware of the moment and he ran around the bases the same way that Gibson did 29 years ago with his arms outstretched in pure joy.
Was there any sign that Turner with the Orioles would become such a vital part of any team?
More from Orioles News
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
A September call up
As a September call up in 2009, Turner was 24 years old. He had 18 at-bats and ended up with a slash of .167/.318/.167/.485. Turner scored two runs and had three RBIs. He had no extra-base hits. On defense, Turner played second and third base, did not make any errors, and actually fielded his positions well in the limited time he was there.
How he left the team
Turner’s history with the Orioles was quite limited. He was drafted by the Yankees in 2005, but he chose to play in college for one year. The infielder was drafted in 2006 by the Cincinnati Reds and played in their minor league system for two years before he was involved in a low-key trade with the Orioles. He played in Triple-A Norfolk in 108 games where he batted a very respectable .300/.362/.388/.749. It was clear that he was not a power hitter, as he only had two home runs in his year with the team.
In 2010, Turner was traded to the Mets after playing 23 games with Norfolk and 5 with the Orioles. His batting stats were not as good in 2010 in the minors and with the Big League Clubs. After three years with the Mets, Turner was granted his free agency and he has been with the Dodgers since then.
Baseball is a strange game. One team’s trash heap can become another’s precious jewelry. It was clear that Turner has thrived with the Dodgers, but he probably could have done the same with the Orioles. But, if he stayed with the Orioles, imagine who might not be playing second (Jonathan Schoop) or third base (Manny Machado).