Matt Wieters to be placed on disabled list Friday

Leave a comment

From Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun comes word that the Orioles plan to place young catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list before their season resumes Friday against the Blue Jays.

Wieters, 24, strained his right hamstring just a few days before the All-Star break and did not make enough progress this week. The Orioles are expected to start Craig Tatum on most nights while Wieters is out and Jake Fox will back him up in the event of an emergency.  Josh Bell could be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to provide depth on the infield.

Wieters was considered a disappointment last season when he hit .288/.340/.412 with nine homers and 43 RBI in 354 at-bats after an early-season promotion to the big leagues.  This year, he has been worse. 

Through 269 at-bats, the former No. 5 overall pick has posted a .245 batting average, a .315 on-base percentage, six home runs and only 29 RBI.  The guy was a .343/.438/.576 hitter over a year-plus in the minor leagues and flashed power potential that has not at all translated to the majors.

He will be eligible to return from the disabled list on July 25.  Perhaps the rest will help.

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.