Wanna buy a Hall of Famer's corked bat?

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Going to the highest bidder:

This is a 1983-85 Robin Yount Louisville Slugger Professional Model Game Used Corked Bat. This bat dates to the 1983-85 period based on the Louisville Slugger centerbrand period, and the Louisville Slugger factory records, which indicate that Yount ordered the P72C 35″ no finish model bat during the entire 1983-85 centerbrand period . . . The very interesting part of this bat, and what makes it special is the apparent corking, a trait banned by MLB rules, visible inside of the cupped barrel end, which slightly distorts the jersey number 19. 

I’m not sure what’s harder to believe: that a Hall of Famer like Yount might have corked his bat or that he actually believed hitting with a corked bat helps in the first place. Because it almost certainly does not.

UPDATE:  A friend of mine who is much smarter than I am read the linked corked bat-debunking and finds considerable fault with it.  He’s right: it’s a highly qualified article that, if anything, could be read to actually establish that corked bats do, indeed, confer a benefit on the hitter.  I’ll admit that I didn’t read the article too closely before I linked it this morning. I had simply read multiple debunkings of corked bats in the past, and at first glance assumed that was one ’em.  We can do better than that, so here’s Mythbusters. They’re on TV, so they HAVE to be more credible, right? 

(link via Monozygotic)

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.