The Astros promote Kevin Goldstein to Director of Professional Scouting

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We normally don’t spend much time on sub-GM front office moves, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Why? Because the sub-GM front office move involves a guy I know and, if you’ve read Baseball Prospectus, you know too: Kevin Goldstein. He was just promoted to Director of Professional Scouting by the Astros.

Goldstein originally joined the Astros in August of 2012 as a pro scouting coordinator. Prior to joining the organization, he wrote for both Baseball Prospectus and ESPN specializing in scouting and player development. Many other web-writers and analysts have made the leap to major league front offices, but not in as high a position as Goldstein now occupies. It’s not crazy to think he could be a general manager one day if the Astros rebuild proves successful.

Just an interesting note at a time of year when so many people who write about baseball falsely portray sabermetrics as the haven of out-of-touch spreadsheet jockeys. Interesting because one of the foremost sabermetric websites around has produced a scouting guy as opposed to a numbers cruncher and that he and all the stathead-friendly folks in the Astros front office play nicely together.

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.