RALEIGH, N.C.—With plenty of scouts on hand (including several scouting directors), lured by a Sunday start for teammate Carlos Rodon, North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner put on a show. The junior had a terrific all-around showing in his season debut in a 3-0 loss against Canisius. The lean, wiry 6-foot-1 Turner is a premium athlete and looks like a different player physically from last summer, with significantly more strength and muscle through his shoulders, upper back and chest.
Turner, listed at 170 pounds but looking closer to 180, looked strong defensively at shortstop, displaying more arm strength from deep in the hole compared to last summer and fall. To lead off the second inning, he made a spectacular play and showed first step quickness, lateral range and body control to snare a ball bounding up the middle. He finished the play by spinning and making a strong, accurate throw to nail the runner at first. Few college shortstops could have made this play. One hitter later, Turner started a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. He made another nice stop on a groundball up the middle in the fourth inning and handled a pop fly in the eighth.
The righthanded-hitting Turner, who entered the season with a .351/.443/.503 career line (in a home ballpark that favors pitchers) and 87 steals in 97 career attempts (90 percent), went 3-for-4 with a stolen base. He has eschewed the toe tap to start his stride that he used last fall, and his bat shows considerable quickness through the zone. Turner, who has natural power up the middle and to right-center field, laced a line-drive single back up the middle in his first at bat and grounded out to third in his second at-bat, running to first in 4.05 seconds. Turner singled through the left side of the infield in his third plate appearance. He showcased his dynamic, top-of-the scale speed in his final trip to the plate, getting to first in 3.42 seconds on a jailbreak bunt to the right side that resulted in a single. He subsequently stole second base.
Turner, who was voted as the preseason first team All-American shortstop by scouting directors, will play at home on Monday against Canisius.