October 5, 2022

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'It just clicked': Turang finds rhythm during 5-hit night

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Brice Turang struggled in Cactus League play this spring with the Brewers, hitting .231 (3-for-13, with a pair of walks). The organization’s No. 4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, then got off to a slow start at the plate with Triple-A Nashville, entering play Friday slashing .220/.291/.300 over his first 12 games of the season.

That changed in a big way Friday night.

Turang went 5-for-5, upping his batting average on the young season by 71 points. His three singles and two doubles, along with three RBIs, helped the Sounds beat Charlotte at Nashville’s First Horizon Park, 12-2.

Turang, whom the Brewers drafted 21st overall in 2018 out of Corona, Calif., has been on the club’s radar for a potential callup to the Majors sometime this season, and performances like he had Friday could help hasten his arrival in Milwaukee.

“The past few days I wasn’t feeling good at the plate,” the 22-year-old shortstop said. “Just not really hitting balls hard. And then today, I got into the cage and it just clicked. I got on the field and just felt relaxed and felt confident.”

The 5-for-5 night began with a single in the first inning. Turang then singled again in the third, doubled in the fourth, delivered an RBI single in the fifth and a two-run double in the seventh.

While he didn’t wake up Friday morning thinking he’d see a 71-point jump in his batting average by the end of the night, Turang said he’s keeping his focus on quality of contact rather than results as he makes his way toward the Major Leagues.

“You can line out five times or you can get lucky on some hits,” Turang said. “Yeah, you want your hits. Yeah, you want your average. But it’ll end up evening out even with the hits that aren’t hit as hard. But our whole goal as hitters is to square it up. If that’s all we can do, and that’s all we can control, the hits will come.”

They came Friday night. And while the Brewers are hoping Turang will put some more muscle onto his 6-foot, 173-pound frame, his focus remains hitting line drives all over the field and utilizing his speed on the basepaths.

In 117 games between Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Nashville last season, Turang stole 20 bases in 29 attempts to go along with a .258/.348/.362 slash line. The Brewers have been moving him up through the farm system aggressively, and he’s consistently been among the younger players at his level of the Minors.

Defensively, MLB Pipeline’s scouting report paints a picture of an above-average shortstop who could stick at that position over the long term in the big leagues. The way Turang sees it, consistency will make the difference, whether in the field or at the plate.

“If you hit the ball hard five out of 10 times, you’ll probably get more hits than you get outs,” he said.

Turang’s teammate, and the No. 7 prospect in the organization, left-hander Ethan Small, turned in another strong performance on the mound, throwing five scoreless frames, while yielding just one hit and striking out six, though he did walk five batters. That lowered his season ERA to 0.49 over four starts.

“It’s phenomenal,” Turang said of Small. “He just challenges guys, he goes after them. You can feel it from shortstop, where I’m playing. There’s no doubt in my mind that when he’s out on that mound, he’s going to go out there and just deal.”

If the Brewers see more performances from Turang like they did Friday night, you might just see him making his big league debut sooner rather than later. And Small may not be far behind him.

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