Report: MLB has “tons” of witnesses beyond Anthony Bosch

64 Comments

Steven Marcus of Newsday reports that MLB has “tons” of witnesses beyond just Anthony Bosch in its case against the Biogenesis players:

Major League Baseball’s investigation into Alex Rodriguez and other players is being built on testimony and evidence provided by many witnesses in addition to the cooperation of the anti-aging clinic’s founder, Anthony Bosch, a source familiar with the probe said Thursday … According to the source, interviews with “tons” of people will help frame the basis of MLB’s investigation.

This could mean something. It could mean nothing. It totally depends on who those witnesses are.

For example, if the “tons” of witnesses are merely other Biogenesis employees, you have the same problems that Major League Baseball has with Anthony Bosch. Many of these employees are alleged to have tried to sell their story to the media and to sell records and documents as well. Moreover, they all may, like Bosch in most cases, be a step removed from the players themselves, having sold drugs to intermediareis, employees of players and people like that. As we learned the other day, arbitrators will want to have direct evidence of player use of drugs, not just delivery or purchase.

More damning witnesses, however, would be the “intermediaries” mentioned in Tuesday’s ESPN report. The people who actually supplied drugs to players. For example, if MLB has access to that employee of the Levinson Brothers who is alleged to have given drugs to players and attempted to cover up their use, that would be pretty darn significant. Or people who witnessed players actually taking banned drugs. The simple notion, though, that the sheer number of witnesses equals a strong case is wrong. After all, the Clemens prosecutors called 23 witnesses. That didn’t work out so good.

So yes, this could be pretty big. It just really hinges, however, on who these guys are.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
6 Comments

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.