By Jon Weisman
Justin Turner’s knee is still stiff after taking a foul ball Monday, and Joc Pederson is “a bit worn down and beat up,” so they are resting tonight along with Andre Ethier against Arizona lefty Robbie Ray.
I can barely remember how I lived before Baseball Reference’s searchable Play Index came into my life, but a perfect example of the irrational pleasures it provides me came Monday night, when I got it into my head to figure out where Turner ranked offensively in history among Dodger third basemen.
I knew it would be high, but I didn’t realize it would be this high. Turner has the highest OPS in Dodger history for third basemen, and it’s not even close. At .983, he’s nearly 40 points ahead of Dick Allen, .164 ahead of Pedro Guerrero and .172 ahead of Jackie Robinson. (Click the box at right to enlarge the top 20.)
I can’t get the caveat out fast enough that this list comes with a small minimum of 200 plate appearances while playing third base, and that Guerrero and Robinson are the true leaders in this category. That’s one of the things I love about the Play Index — it’s as useful for serious research as it is for a fun goof.
But still, I can’t resist finding a little bit of meaning in Turner topping the 50 names that qualify for this particular, idiosyncratic group. You expect him to be like any of the others in that collection of names, and he’s just not. He’s unique. Which suits him, I think.