Erik Bedard slated to make final rehab start tonight at Triple-A

Leave a comment

Erik Bedard could be making his final rehab start when he takes the mound tonight at Triple-A, with manager Don Wakamatsu saying the Mariners “are looking at starting him against Kansas City” next week.
Bedard will obviously have to avoid a setback with his surgically repaired shoulder and look decent in his final tune-up, but he pitched very well in his first two rehab outings and the Mariners no doubt want him in the rotation as soon as possible so they can give potential trade deadline bidders time to scout the left-hander.
While he’s become sort of a forgotten man because of all the arm problems, Bedard had a 2.82 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 83 innings for the Mariners last season and posted ERAs of 3.67, 3.16, and 3.76 in the previous three years. He’s clearly a major question mark, but if reasonably healthy Bedard is a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter and teams that miss out on the likes of Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Dan Haren would be smart to take a flier on him if the Mariners’ asking price is reasonable.

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.