Link-O-Rama: Capps to remain Pirates' closer (probably)

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* Matt Capps has struggled this season, going 4-8 with a 5.91 ERA and .326 opponents’ batting average while blowing five saves in 31 opportunities, but general manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that he’ll remain the Pirates’ closer next year “barring some unforeseen circumstance.” Of course, if they get any decent offers for Capps this offseason my guess is that the Pirates would be happy to trade him.
* Craig noted this morning that the Brewers are thinking about hiring Rick Peterson as their new pitching coach, but it sounds like manager Ken Macha will stick around for 2010 despite a disappointing first year in Milwaukee. Peterson and Macha worked together for quite a few years in Oakland.
* Roger Clemens showed up at Minute Maid Park over the weekend because his son Koby Clemens was among eight players honored as the team MVPs of their respective minor-league affiliates. Koby, who’s a 22-year-old catcher and former eighth-round pick, batted .345 with 22 homers, 45 doubles, and 121 RBIs in 116 games at high Single-A Lancaster of the California League.
* Koby Clemens can look forward to one day being involved in the Astros’ annual hazing ritual, which this year consisted of forcing the rookies to dress up in 1980s workout clothes. In other words, basically a whole bunch of neon, spandex, headbands, and tanktops. Alyson Footer of MLB.com has all the embarrassing details.

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.