Brandon Wood's struggles carry over to Triple-A

13 Comments

Brandon Wood was placed on the disabled list last month in a move due partly to a hip injury and partly to the Angels wanting to send a player without a minor-league option to Triple-A. Wood is officially now “rehabbing” his injury at Triple-A and for the first time his big-league struggles are carrying over to the minors.
Wood has gone 6-for-33 (.182) with 11 strikeouts, zero walks, and zero extra-base hits in eight games at Triple-A, where he previously batted .290 with a .900 OPS in more than 300 games. Prior to the injury/demotion he was hitting .156 with a gruesome 36/2 K/BB ratio in 39 games for the Angels this season and .179 with a 110/9 K/BB ratio in 125 career games as a big leaguer.
He’s still just 25 years old, so there’s certainly time for Wood to salvage his career, but if he’s no longer crushing Triple-A pitching there’s really nothing to cling to in terms of optimism. It’ll be interesting to see what the Angels do once his rehab assignment is up in a couple weeks, because he’s clearly not deserving of an MLB roster spot at this point and they can’t leave him in the minors without first passing him through waivers.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.