WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner has only played in parts of four seasons in the Majors, this year being his first fully healthy season, but he has already established himself as the most prolific base stealer in Nationals history.After drawing a walk in the third inning of Sunday's 8-6 loss, Turner
WASHINGTON -- Trea Turner has only played in parts of four seasons in the Majors, this year being his first fully healthy season, but he has already established himself as the most prolific base stealer in Nationals history.
After drawing a walk in the third inning of Sunday's 8-6 loss, Turner swiped second base against Mets starter Steven Matz for the 123rd stolen base of his career, surpassing Ian Desmond for the most stolen bases in team history (2005-present). Desmond played in 927 games during his seven-year Nats career, and Turner racked up more swipes in just 354 games with Washington.
"Any time a record is within reach, I think it's always cool to be mentioned along with it or beat one or set your own," Turner said. "It's a lot of hard work. It shows it can pay off if you continue to try to get better and put the work in over a long time. So, I like it."
Turner's stolen base added to his MLB-leading total of 42 on the season and left him just four stolen bases away from his career-high of 46, also a team record, set in 2017. Turner is currently on a career-high 23 game on-base streak, including reaching five times on Sunday.
"He's had an unbelievable year this year. Kudos to him," Nats manager Dave Martinez said. "I think he's only [going to] get better. I really do. Here's a guy who I think can steal 50 or 60 bases a year, maybe more, and he's [going to] get better at it -- picking spots when he can run and steal when there's an opportunity to steal where it's not going to be close."
Turner only needed 98 games to set the Nationals' single-season record in 2017, yet he is just beginning to reach those numbers despite playing in all 156 games for Washington in '18. That has left Turner lamenting some of the stolen base opportunities he believes he has missed this season, and he estimated he could have collected at least 10 or 15 more stolen bases this year.
"I think I've been way more conservative because we've lost a lot more this year," Turner said this week. "When you're down by one or two, I've had opportunities where I should have or could have run, but I haven't because if I get thrown out, I know what that does momentum-wise. So, [I] definitely haven't been as aggressive, but I think the score kind of shuts that down a little bit."
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.