MLB draft picks 16-20: The Nationals take a chance with Lucas Giolito

9 Comments

No. 16 – Washington Nationals -High school right-hander Lucas Giolito

With their lowest pick since the franchise arrived to D.C. in 2005, it didn’t look like the Nationals would be able to snag an elite talent like the previous three drafts with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. They may have lucked out here. Giolito was discussed as a potential No. 1 pick before his season ended after he strained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early March. He only recently began a throwing program, so the pick is a bit of a gamble. But the upside is obviously pretty huge here.

No. 17 – Toronto Blue Jays – High school outfielder D.J. Davis

Davis was considered one of the fastest players, if not the fastest, in the entire draft class. However, he’s not just a punch-and-judy type. While still very raw at this point in his development, the Mississippi native has gap power and the ability hit for a high batting average. He should stick in center field for the long haul.

No. 18 – Los Angeles Dodgers – High school shortstop Corey Seager

After selecting a pitcher in the first round in their previous nine drafts, the Dodgers picked the younger brother of Mariners’ third baseman Kyle Seager this year. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he’s highly regarded for his power potential. While Seager played shortstop in high school, he is expected to move over to the hot corner as a pro.

No. 19 – St. Louis Cardinals – Texas A&M right-hander Michael Wacha

While Wacha doesn’t have the upside of fellow college right-handers Kevin Gausman, Kyle Zimmer or Mark Appel, he’s considered one of the most polished pitchers in this year’s draft class. He has a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s range and a quality changeup, but there have been some doubts about his breaking stuff. Some mentioned him a top-10 pick not too long ago, so he’s a pretty nice value here.

No. 20 – San Francisco Giants – Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton

Another college pitcher who was expected to go a bit earlier according to most mocks, Stratton stands at 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball and has three pitches in his arsenal which have above average potential. The Giants have a pretty good reputation for developing pitchers, so who are we to doubt them here?

Pick 1: Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa                          .

Picks 2-5: Mariners take catcher Mike Zunino at No. 3           .

Picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall                              .

Picks 11-15: A’s, Mets select high school shortstops                .

Picks 21-31: Blue Jays add potential 2012 callup Stroman

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.