Fantasy ranking the rotations

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In light of Craig’s response to Buster Olney’s blog, I’ve thrown this together. It’s a ranking 1-30 of how the top six pitchers in each team’s rotation fare in my fantasy projections.
This isn’t meant to be taken very seriously. For one thing, I’ve simply added up the totals, so the No. 6 starter is treated equally with the top five options. That’s a problem for the Mariners, Angels and some other teams that I see as just five deep. Also, I’m not attempting to neutralize for park and league effects. That really hurts the Rockies and Rangers, both of whom would be several spots higher if I were doing this by hand.
1. Red Sox 10.07
2. Yankees 4.77
3. Giants 3.79
4. Mariners 3.65
5. Phillies 3.40
6. Dodgers 1.39
7. Cardinals 0.20
8. Rays -0.38
9. Marlins -0.74
10. Cubs -0.95
11. Braves -3.02
12. Twins -3.08
13. Diamondbacks -3.13
14. White Sox -3.18
15. Mets -3.89
16. Padres -5.14
17. Tigers -5.98
18. Athletics -6.71
19. Rockies -7.35
20. Astros -7.64
21. Angels -7.84
22. Royals -8.19
23. Brewers -10.22
24. Rangers -10.43
25. Reds -11.03
26. Blue Jays -12.62
27. Orioles -12.73
28. Indians -14.21
29. Pirates -18.72
30. Nationals -21.63
– I have the Red Sox starters ranked 9th (Jon Lester), 11th (Josh Beckett), 27th (John Lackey), 40th (Clay Buchholz) and 60th (Daisuke Matsuzaka), making it pretty obvious why they fare well here. Even Tim Wakefield has a substantial edge on most of the No. 6 starters. Boston and Seattle are the two teams that I have receiving significant boosts because of their defenses.
– The Yankees would have narrowed the gap a little had I made Phil Hughes the sixth starter, but I’m projecting him as a reliever. Chad Gaudin took that spot. Likewise, the Cardinals would have been helped had I used Kyle McClellan in place of either Mitchell Boggs or Jaime Garcia.
– Besides the Red Sox, the only other team to place four starters in my top 50 was the Braves. I was pretty surprised just how low they graded out here. However, the fact that Tommy Hanson is the only real strikeout pitcher of the bunch hurt. Also, sixth starter Jo-Jo Reyes weighs them down. They could have moved up had I used Kris Medlen instead.
– The Nationals would have overtaken the Pirates had I used Stephen Strasburg over Scott Olsen or sixth starter Shairon Martis.

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.