Lenny Dykstra thinks he was the NL MVP in 1993, not Barry Bonds

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Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra joined Mike Missanelli on ESPN’s 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday evening. The interview was fascinating, as Dykstra has never been one to hold back. He criticized current Phillies center fielder Ben Revere for his low on-base percentage, talked about his steroid use, the financial mistakes he made in his post-baseball career, and suggested that the Phillies should trade for his son Cutter Dykstra, currently in the Nationals’ minor league system.

This is perhaps the most interesting thing he said in the interview, however — at least to me:

1993 was, of course, the year the Phillies shocked the nation and matched up in the World Series against the Blue Jays. Dykstra finished second in NL MVP voting to Barry Bonds. That season, Dykstra slashed .305/.420/.482 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. He led the league in walks with 129, in hits with 194, and in runs with 143. Baseball Reference credits him with an impressive 6.5 Wins Above Replacement.

As good as Dykstra was that season, however, Bonds was way better. The Giants outfielder slashed .336/.458/.677  with a league-leading 46 home runs, 123 RBI, and stole 29 bases as well. Bonds led the league in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and finished with 9.9 WAR. Bonds was the most valuable position player in the National League in 1993. The Giants won 103 games but finished second in the NL West to the Braves, who won 104.

Even aside from Bonds, though, there was a debate between Dykstra and the rest of the field. Baseball Reference also listed Mike Piazza at 7.0 WAR, Ron Gant with 6.5, Robbie Thompson with 6.3, and Jay Bell with 6.2. All worth at least a conversation in the MVP talks, though they all paled in comparison to Bonds.

Sorry, Lenny, you weren’t the National League’s most valuable player in 1993.

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.