That steroid list is a phony

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So there’s a website out there which purports to have the list of the
2003 drug test failures — the same list that gave us Alex Rodriguez
and Sammy Sosa. We’re not linking it or reproducing the names listed
there because it’s a fake. That fact was confirmed this morning by a
source who is definitely in a position to know. Anyone who gives it any
credence going forward is trafficking in baloney.

But you know what? We kind of suspected that it was fake beforehand.
Why? Because for starters, the site running it — something called
“Roto Info” — has zero reputation as a reliable news source. Really
zero — before now it has never to our knowledge reported anything, be
it good, bad or indifferent. Now it is shown to be untrustworthy, lazy
and irresponsible. For the moment let’s give them the benefit of the
doubt and say that they were merely passing this along as opposed to
having created it themselves. Even then, posting it with a weak
“unconfirmed” disclaimer as they did here does not
get the job done. Most bloggers have day jobs yet still manage to get
off their butts and get this stuff right. “Roto Info” should be no
different. The lesson: get your roto info from Rotoworld.

Second, the list consists of an overwhelming number of bigger names and
very few scrubs. This flies in the face of the information we have
learned from the Mitchell Report,
the Radomski and McNamee business and the testing results that have
been made public since 2003. Where are the Marvin Bernards, Tim Lakers,
Josias Manzanillos, Matt Francos, and Adam Piatts of the world?
Steroids are equal-opportunity, and the fact that this list is almost
entirely devoid of 23rd-25th roster slots puts lie to any notion of
legitimacy.

Third, the names are listed in team order, by division, going from east to west, AL to NL. On the eve of the Mitchell Report there was another fake list like this one.
It was in alphabetical order, and looked fishy for the same reasons.
While this isn’t necessarily suspicious in and of itself — we can
conceive of some reasons why the list could take on such an order — it
suggests someone being a little more methodical about it than might
appear in nature.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, Jason Grimsley’s name is not on the list, and by all accounts it should be.
Indeed, our source’s debunking of this list specifically mentioned
Grimsley’s absence, and the absence of other known-positives, as the
clincher of its fraudulent nature.

If and when the real list ever surfaces, you can bet that we’ll be
on top of it. You can also bet that we’ll confirm it first. In the
meantime, we’ll be busy throttling the blogger who ran this nonsense
for doing even more to discredit the medium than has already been done.

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.