MLB draft – Picks No. 25-32

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Angels selected outfielder Mike Trout with the 25th pick in the draft.
Unlike
Randal Grichuk, Trout was expected to go at least this high. It’s
expected that he’ll start switch-hitting in the pros, and he’s
displayed 15- or 20-homer power as a right-handed hitter. He has the
range to play center and a great arm. He’s a nice pick.

Brewers chose Indiana RHP Eric Arnett with the 26th pick in the draft.
Arnett,
a 6-foot-5 right-hander, has a strong low-90s fastball that should
generate grounders. He doesn’t have a second above average pitch yet,
but the Brewers will work with him on his slider and changeup. 26th
overall seems about right.

Mariners selected high school shortstop Nick Franklin with the 27th pick.
The
switch-hitting Franklin doesn’t stand out when it comes to tools, but
he has enough range to be a major league shortstop and he should be
able to hit singles and doubles from both sides of the plate. He’s a
fine pick for a Mariners team that needs a shortstop of the future.

Red Sox selected high school outfielder Reymond Fuentes with the 28th pick.
It
figured that Boston would go with a signability player, but Fuentes
doesn’t really qualify. An outfielder from Puerto Rico, Fuentes is a
Jacoby Ellsbury-type and he could be another leadoff hitting center
fielder for the Red Sox.

Yankees selected high school outfielder Slade Heathcott with the 29th pick in the draft.
This
is the Yankees’ compensation pick for failing to sign their first
rounder last year. Heathcott projects as a right fielder with 25-homer
power. He may not hit for average, and he has had injury issues,
including a torn ACL that limited him this year.

Rays selected infielder-outfielder LeVon Washington with 30th pick in the draft.
Washington
was viewed as a center fielder by most, but the Rays have drafted him
at second base. They figure to have more of a need there than in the
outfielder by the time he’s ready. A true burner, Washington could be a
40- or 50-steal guy. He won’t hit for much power.

Cubs chose California outfielder Brett Jackson with the 31st pick in the draft.
Jackson
hit .321/.407/.564 with 11 steals in 16 attempts for California this
season. He has a solid all-around game, but he doesn’t offer vast
amounts of power and, if he can’t last in center, he may be a tweener
fourth outfielder rather than a major league regular.

Rockies selected Sacramento State outfielder Tim Wheeler with the 32nd and final pick of the first round.
Colorado
picked up this pick from the Angels as compensation for losing Brian
Fuentes. Wheeler, a left-handed hitter, is a legitimate center fielder
with leadoff potential and doubles power. For where they picked, the
Rockies, who selected left-hander Tyler Matzek 11th overall, had an
excellent first round.

See analysis of picks 17-24, 9-16, and 1-8.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.