Adam Dunn reaches 100 strikeouts in his 67th game

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Adam Dunn struck out four times yesterday to reach 100 strikeouts for the season, which is pretty remarkable considering the White Sox have played 79 games and Dunn himself has appeared in just 67 of them.

To put that in some context, 100 strikeouts in 67 games works out to 239 strikeouts per 160 games and the major-league record for strikeouts in a season is 223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009.

In general focusing on a hitter’s strikeout total is misguided, as Reynolds batted .260 with 44 homers and an .892 OPS in his record-setting season and plenty of hitters have been very productive while joining the single-season strikeout leaderboard. Dunn, however, is hitting just .173 with a .624 OPS, including an almost unbelievable 1-for-53 mark versus left-handed pitching and a .126 batting average at home, where he’s been booed often.

Dunn isn’t going to set any strikeout records because the White Sox have taken to benching him regularly against lefties, but on a per-plate appearance basis he’s whiffing more than anyone in baseball history: 35.8 percent. His career mark coming into this season: 26.9 percent.

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.