The downside of hustle: Luke Scott injured on home run trot

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Luke Scott may be headed to the disabled list after injuring his hamstring last night during his home run trot. Scott took Cedrick Bowers deep to left-center field in the seventh inning, but ran hard out of the box before knowing it was gone and pulled up lame after rounding first base.
MLB.com has the video of Scott barely making it to the plate by hopping and limping his way to second base and actually pausing for a moment once he reached third base. Scott said afterward that “it doesn’t look good” and he’ll likely undergo an MRI exam today, guessing that he’s “probably” bound for the DL because “any time you deal with a pulled hamstring it’s going to be at least two weeks.”
Felix Pie is just about ready to return from his own DL stint, so he’d likely take Scott’s roster spot and playing time. Scott’s batting average was below .200 as late as May 9, but he’s hit .328 with eight homers and 12 doubles in 40 games since then to raise his overall AVG/OBP/SLG line to .274/.348/.520, which would be the 32-year-old’s best production since his rookie season.
Signed to a one-year, $4.05 million deal and arbitration eligible again next season, Scott figured to be a potential trade deadline target for contenders in need of a veteran left-handed bat, but any more than a couple weeks on the DL could make it tough for the Orioles to get value for him before July 31.

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.