David Ortiz passes Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list — is he a Hall of Famer?

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David Ortiz hit two home runs against the Blue Jays last night. The first one tied him with Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time home run list, the second one passed him. Ortiz hit 58 with the Twins, so he’s still behind him on the Red Sox list.

Overall, Ortiz now sits alone at 36th all-time with 453 bombs. Ahead of him in the near future: Adam Dunn, Jose Canseco, Dave Winfield and Chipper Jones at 454, 452, 465 and 468, respectively. Obviously Dunn is still active.

One of the more controversial subjects we bring up around here from time to time are David Ortiz’s Hall of Fame chances. I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I do think he is both Cooperstown bound and Cooperstown worthy.

I dug into the argument pretty deeply the morning after Game 6 of the World Series last fall, but the summary of it was:

  • On the numbers alone he is comfortably within the middle of the pack of already-enshrined Hall of Fame hitters;
  • While people discount his contributions because he’s a DH, it’s not like DH hasn’t been an established position for pushing half a century and it’s not like we don’t already induct hyper-specialists into the Hall of Fame (see, one-inning relief pitchers);
  • If we give extra credit for the playoffs — and we typically do — it’s worth noting that Oritz has a career World Series line of .455/.576/.795 with 14 RBI in 14 games; and
  • While some will cite his PED history, (a) it is the slightest of all PED histories imaginable given that it came during the 2003 trial testing period which came with no penalties and was supposed to have been anonymous; and (b) he tends to get a pass on this from many in the media who are not so forgiving to PED-implicated players.

Going against his chances are that, so far, the BBWAA voters have shown no inclination to vote in the guy who many feel was the best DH in baseball history in Edgar Martinez. But I bet the Boston + three World Series rings factor will end up giving Ortiz a lot of extra credit among those same voters. Almost all teams which win a World Series have at least one Hall of Famer. Teams which win three World Series ALL have Hall of Famers. Who would Boston’s be? If it ain’t Ortiz, I’d be curious to see who your candidate is.

Maybe I still haven’t convinced most of you. But as we debate this, Ortiz will continue to climb the career home run list.

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.