Link-O-Rama: Big Papi ties Big Hurt (sort of)

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* Last night David Ortiz tied Frank Thomas for the most homers ever at designated hitter with 269. The big difference between Big Papi and Big Hurt is that Thomas had 252 non-DH homers while Ortiz has just 43.
* San Diego is sending out DVDs to NL managers in an effort to boost Kevin Kouzmanoff’s chances of winning an undeserved Gold Glove, which is something I preemptively railed against last month. There’s a lot more to defense than errors.
* Raul Ibanez homering twice yesterday made the Phillies just the 12th team in baseball history with at least four 30-homer hitters. Interestingly, just one of those dozen teams came before 1995 and four of them called Coors Field home.
* Remember last week, when I wondered why Matt Murton hasn’t been able to stick in the majors? I’m still wondering, but after another strong season in the minors he’s at least back in the big leagues as a bench player in Colorado.
* In a move that was first reported several months ago, the Red Sox have finalized an $8.2 million contract with 19-year-old Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias. As part of the deal he’s been added to the 40-man roster and will play in the Arizona Fall League next month. Baseball Prospectus called him “Ryan Theriot with better hands” while Baseball America described Iglesias as an “Orlando Cabrera clone.”

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.