Pirates and Nationals lead 2007-2011 draft spending at $52 million and $51 million

7 Comments

Jim Callis of Baseball America crunched the numbers for the past five drafts and reports that the Pirates led all MLB teams in spending by handing out $52 million in total signing bonuses.

Much of that has to do with having the No. 1 pick once, the No. 2 pick twice, and the No. 4 pick twice during that five-year span, but this year for example the Pirates also shelled out $5.5 million on consensus top-10 talent Josh Bell after he dropped to them in the second round because of high bonus demands.

Joining the Pirates in spending more than $50 million during the past five drafts is the Nationals at $51 million, much of which went to back-to-back No. 1 overall picks Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

Boston ranks fourth in 2007-2011 draft spending at $40 million despite not having any top-10 picks, which shows that the Red Sox are taking significant advantage of other teams passing on top prospects due to bonus demands. Similarly the Yankees have spent $34 million on draft picks since 2007, which is well above the “slot” recommendations for where their actual picks have been.

At the other end of the spectrum the White Sox spent just $18 million and the next-lowest team, the Marlins, spent $21 million. You can see the full breakdown by clicking here.

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.