Sorry, misplaced anger, feel free to move along

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Ummm… nevermind. While McGrath’s column made it sound like Mattingly and Murphy were his only choices, he states in the comments that he actually submitted a 10-man ballot.

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Taking the Hall of Upstanding Citizens standard to a new plateau is the Tacoma News Tribune’s John McGrath. Faced with the burden of being a guardian to Cooperstown, he submitted a two-man Hall of Fame ballot of Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy.

Of course, he spends most of his column writing about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa and never provides any sort of reasoning for why Mattingly and Murphy, two of the ballots weakest holdovers, are more deserving than contemporaries Fred McGriff, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, not to mention a local favorite like Edgar Martinez.

Well, maybe there’s some reasoning:

I’m prepared to select as many as 10 players on my ballot whose achievements did not mock the notion of integrity, sportsmanship and character. The headache is part of the bargain. It won’t kill me.

You read it here first: Edgar Martinez, mocker of integrity. And that elbow pad Craig Biggio wore wasn’t very sporting at all. As for character? Well, Larry Walker had none of that.
Just do us all a favor and tear up your ballot next time, John. It’s obviously nothing more to you than an excuse for a cheap column.

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.