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A federal judge unsealed evidence in Cardinals-Astros hacking scandal

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A report from David Barron and Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle revealed new details about former Cardinals scouting director Carlos Correa‘s hacking of the Astros’ computer databases from 2013-2014. On Thursday, federal judge Lynn Hughes unsealed three documents pertaining to Correa’s offenses. While certain parts of the documents remain redacted, Barron and Kaplan believe they could give Major League Baseball enough information to issue a punishment for the Cardinals prior to the start of the 2017 season.

The documents revealed that Correa obtained access to to the Astros’ “Ground Control” database 48 times and accessed the accounts of five Astros employees, using passwords from GM Jeff Luhnow, analyst Colin Wyers and three unidentified minor league players in the Astros’ system. Among other offenses, Correa also had “unfettered access” to the email account of director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal for 2 1/2 years.

After hacking into the system, Correa accessed the Astros’ list of preferred selections for the 2013 amateur draft, as well as confidential medical records, trade notes, and numerous scouting reports for players the Cardinals later drafted.

According to assistant U.S. attorney Michael Chu, Correa might also have been behind the Deadspin leak in 2015:

Chu also disclosed in the sentencing report his belief that “it must have been Correa” who leaked confidential Astros information to Deadspin.com concerning 10 months of Astros confidential trade discussions after also posting details to Anonabin.com and Pastebin.com, two bulletin boards that allow anonymous posting of data.

As a result of the Deadspin leak, the prosecutor wrote, “general managers through Major League Baseball were forced to awkwardly reassure their players. … Ultimately, the Astros were forced to issue private apologies to every team in the league. It was a humiliating episode for the Astros.

The documents can be read in full here. Based on the details revealed in the reports, Barron and Kaplan estimate that MLB officials could impose a sanction against the Cardinals as soon as this week.

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.