Trea Turner rounds third base against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park at on Aug. 13. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Every time Trea Turner hits a home run, Elliott Avent texts him with the same message: Bunt for a hit in your next at-bat. The North Carolina State baseball coach repeats the suggestion facetiously. He knows his former star shortstop loves hitting home runs and possesses sneaky power in his wiry frame. He just doesn’t think Turner, the fastest college baseball player he has seen in his 30-plus years, utilizes his speed as frequently as he could.

Avent isn’t the only confidant to relay this kind of advice to Turner. If not bunt, at least focus on putting the ball on the ground, the consultants advise. If the Washington Nationals’ rookie sensation can do that, he can leg out a few extra hits, the theory goes. And the more he’s on base, the more he can terrorize defenses with his speed. Turner listens and scoffs.

“People tell me that,” he said. “And I’m like, ‘Shut up.’ ”

Turner, listed at 6 feet 1 and 185 pounds, doesn’t see himself as a light-hitting middle infielder — and, for now, center fielder — dependent on speed to thrive. He envisions evolving into a premier batter who just so happens to be in the conversation for fastest man in baseball. He strives to smack line drives from gap to gap. When he does, he can stretch singles into doubles and doubles into triples, as he has already done on six occasions in 204 major league plate appearances this season through Saturday’s games. Sometimes a line drive will scream over the outfield wall and he can dial the speed down to a jog, which he has done five times while batting .338 with a .881 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

“That’s not how you become a good hitter,” said Turner, 23. “Sure I may get more hits here and there, but I want to be like Daniel Murphy. I want to be like Bryce Harper. I want to be like any of the best hitters.”

Turner: “I want to be like Daniel Murphy, I want to be like Bryce Harper. I want to be like any of the best hitters.” (Chris Szagola/AP)

Turner’s emergence as the fastest player on the Nationals came after Manager Dusty Baker attracted criticism in December for saying the club needed more Latin and African American players to add speed to the roster. It’s an irony not lost on Turner — or his teammates.

“I hear it all the time, that I’m fast for a white guy,” Turner said. “I’m used to it.”

Said Harper: “He’s the fastest white boy I’ve ever seen. You can quote me on that.”

Assistant hitting coach Jacque Jones and others, including outfielder Ben Revere, said jokes about Turner’s speed are not uncommon in the clubhouse.

“People say white people don’t got speed,” said Revere, himself one of the faster players in the majors. “But he definitely got brother speed. Let’s put it that way. He’s one of the weird types of fast white boys. He can run.”

Reliever Shawn Kelley called Turner the fastest player in baseball. First base coach Davey Lopes determined it’s a toss-up between Turner, Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton and Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon. Starter Joe Ross declared Turner the fastest person he has seen on a baseball field. Outfielder Brian Goodwin said Turner could have succeeded on the track if he didn’t play baseball.

“He’s fast, bro,” Goodwin said. “Damn fast.”

How fast? Turner said he doesn’t know exactly. He didn’t run track in high school or college — the only other sport he played was golf during his senior year of high school. He remembered running a 6.25-second 60-yard dash “a while ago” and a 4.37 40-yard dash sometime around his freshman year of college. The 40-yard dash’s accuracy is questionable because it was timed by just one person with a stopwatch.

Statcast measured Turner’s max speed on his first career triple against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 19 at 22.7 mph. It was, at the time at least, the top max speed on a triple this season. He also has been clocked at 22.7 mph on an infield single.

“His stand-up triples where he takes maybe no more than 10 hard strides 100 percent all the way from home to third and he comes in cruising like maybe had he gone home maybe he would’ve been close,” Ross said. “I think that’s my favorite part. When he hits the ball in the gap, I get pretty excited.”

Avent couldn’t recall seeing Turner take flyballs during batting practice at N.C. State as other infielders occasionally did. Yet he was confident Turner would seamlessly transition to center field because of his instincts and speed even though he hadn’t played there much since high school.

“It’s almost like he’s running on air,” Avent said in a telephone interview. “His gait, his stride is just so effortless.”

The Nationals began Turner’s center field conversion at Class AAA Syracuse in late June out of necessity. A logjam in the middle infield was blocking Turner from an everyday role in the majors, and they wanted his bat in the lineup because they were getting the worst production in the majors out of the leadoff spot as Revere and Michael A. Taylor floundered.

Turner’s smooth shift has transformed Washington’s offense. He was named NL rookie of the month for August, when he had 45 hits, the most in a month for a Nationals first-year player. Turner has stolen 20 bases in 23 tries — replay review was needed for the three times he was ruled out — and recorded a hit in eight straight plate appearances against the Baltimore Orioles last month. The day after the streak ended, he tallied two infield hits, forced two errors in one inning with his speed and stole a base in a win over the Colorado Rockies.

Turner’s 21-game on-base streak officially came to an end Saturday. On Wednesday, he entered the win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the ninth inning and didn’t bat. He wasn’t in the lineup for maintenance purposes. He had started every game since July 29, and Baker joked he wanted the slender Turner to eat plenty Wednesday, then wake up to “eat breakfast . . . then lunch, dinner, salad, soups and dessert.”

Perhaps a fortified Turner will appease his college coach with a bunt hit. Just don’t count on it. That’s not who he is.