Justin Turner Wins 12th Annual Roy Campanella Award

The Dodgers announced on Monday afternoon that third baseman Justin Turner was named the winner of the 12th annual Roy Campanella Award. This honor is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Turner by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Cary Bell, during pregame ceremonies on Tuesday night.

Turner, 32, was initially signed by the Dodgers as a non-roster free agent with an invitation to Spring Training prior to the 2014 season. Since then, JT has emerged as an All-Star on the field and a strong leader inside the clubhouse. Turner has led the National League in batting average for much of the season and currently ranks second in the league with both his .321 batting average and .414 on-base percentage, while playing elite defense in 114 games started at third base.

This season, the Long Beach native earned the final roster spot on the NL All-Star team through the “final vote,” garnering a record-setting 20.8 million votes online and via social media.

While setting an example for his teammates to follow on the field, Turner has been just as impressive as a leader in the community, which this year culminated in his being named the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

Turner, who was nominated by his teammates for the MLB Player Association’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award last year, frequently makes community appearances on behalf of the team and often schedules his own visits to Cedars-Sinai Hospital to spend time with patients and to the Los Angeles Dream Center – a nonprofit that assists homeless families with residential, foster care, medical, life skills and other services. He also has his own foundation, the Justin Turner Foundation, which focuses on helping homeless veterans, children and families battling life-changing illnesses, and military little league baseball and softball.

When Turner signed a four-year contract to stay in Los Angeles this winter, he helped counsel All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who eventually committed to staying with the Dodgers for five years. When the pair met with the media together after signing their deals, Jansen had this to say about the 2017 Roy Campanella Award winner:

“To have me and Justin back here, it kind of sets a tone for the young guys to kind of see how the process goes,” Jansen said. “Justin signed here on a minor league deal and became a star. Me, being a catcher who failed and then becoming one of the best closers, for the young guys to see that, I think it will help us a lot to win a championship.”

Added Dodger manager Dave Roberts during the season, “J.T. is the epitome of what we’re trying to do going forward, the type of baseball player he is, what he stands for. Those are the guys you win with.”

Roy Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player in the early 1950’s, eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis. In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.

Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006, and since then the honor has been awarded to Russell Martin in 2007, James Loney in 2008, Juan Pierre in 2009, Jamey Carroll in 2010, Matt Kemp in 2011, A.J. Ellis in 2012, Clayton Kershaw in both 2013 and 2014, Zack Greinke in 2015 and Chase Utley in 2016.

(Joe Jareck provided the majority of information furnished in this report)

 

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A Quick Glance at the National League Cy Young Picture

With a little over a week’s worth of games remaining on the regular season schedule, the race for the National League Cy Young Award appears to be completely up for grabs, as this year’s BBWAA voting is sure to spark plenty of controversy among followers of the game everywhere.

If there is a slight favorite in the eyes of the fans, it’s Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Scherzer is on the verge of his fifth-straight 200-inning season, and leads the senior circuit far and away with 253 strikeouts. He has a 0.91 WHIP, which also leads NL starters, and his 6.6 WAR and 2.59 ERA both rank second in the league. Despite his relatively solid peripherals, the 33-year-old righty only has 15 wins at the moment, which may cost him a good portion of votes, especially those from the writers who weigh more importance on the traditional statistics. Scherzer, who already has won the award once in both leagues, is making a bid for his third Cy Young Award—his second with the Nationals.

Gio Gonzalez, also a member of the star-studded rotation of the Nationals, actually has a better WAR than Scherzer at 6.9. He has the same number of wins, and nearly the same number of innings pitched as Scherzer. Gonzalez also has a very respectable 2.68 ERA, which ranks third in the National League. His 1.15 WHIP ranks fifth, but the fact that he has struck out only 179 batters over 191-2/3 innings may slightly harm his chances in the eyes of the voters.

Continuing along in the Washington rotation, next we come upon 29-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg. The San Diego State product has put together a 14-4 record with a 2.68 ERA—identical to that of Gonzalez, accompanied by 196 strikeouts, a 1.04 WHIP and a 5.8 WAR. If there’s one stat that could potentially hurt Strasburg in the voting, though, it’s the fact that he has 167-1/3 innings under his belt, which is about 30 less than both Gonzalez and Scherzer.

Ranking right up there with the Washington trio is Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks. At 17 wins, he has more than any of the Nationals’ candidates, and his 211 strikeouts and 1.04 WHIP rank second and fourth in the league, respectively. His 6.1 WAR ranks third in the league right behind Gonzalez and Scherzer, but his 3.18 ERA has recently been trending downward, and presently ranks sixth in the NL among all qualified starters. On Friday evening against the Marlins, Greinke’s ERA rose a few more ticks, as he surrendered eight earned runs on nine hits—including three long balls—in an even four innings of work.

The ace of the Dodgers’ staff, Clayton Kershaw, perennially appears in the conversation for the award, and 2017 is no different, despite missing a little over five weeks with a herniated disk in his back. Despite the injury, Kersh leads all qualified NL starters with a 2.26 ERA, and is tied with Greinke for first in wins with 17. His 0.91 WHIP is second only to Scherzer, and although his 10.71 K/9 ranks third, his 194 strikeouts rank ninth, resulting from his absence. He’s been a little murky as of late, having surrendered nine earned runs on 18 hits in 15-2/3 innings of work over his last three starts.

One final name sure to garner a high number of top-ten votes is Kershaw’s teammate, Kenley Jansen. His 40 saves rank second in the National League, but more importantly his 1.36 ERA and 0.74 WHIP are astronomically low. His 14.32 K/9 destroys the mark of any of the starters we discussed, and what’s even more impressive is the fact that he’s walked just seven batters in an even 66 innings of work.

For those keeping track of all the latest stats in real time, Scherzer is on the bump on Sunday afternoon for the Nationals against the Mets in New York, while Kershaw is seeking his league-leading 18th victory against the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

Dave Roberts Hopes to Restore Team Continuity During Stretch Run

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With eight games now remaining in the regular season, Dodgers‘ skipper Dave Roberts hinted to the media on Friday that he will revert to using the best possible lineups down the stretch run of the schedule, indicating that the most important matter is getting into a consistent pattern of playing good baseball, as there will be enough time for players to rest between the season finale and the beginning of the NLDS on October 6.

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Kershaw and Jansen Will Lead Dodgers in the Playoffs, but They Can’t Win by Themselves

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(Mandatory Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw. Everybody knows that name. It’s a name that is often followed by these words: “The Best Pitcher on the Planet.” I agree with that statement, and not just because I’m a fan of the Dodgers. I agree with it because it just makes sense. People often say that Kershaw has the potential to be the best pitcher baseball has ever seen, all he needs to do is win a World Series. The Dodgers have as good of a chance at a championship this year than they ever have before.

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Dodgers Look to Continue Winning Ways Against Nationals

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Although there is still a lot of work left to be done, those of us in Dodgers Nation can breathe a little sigh of relief after the recent series in San Francisco. Our beloved team is starting to look like the powerhouse team it was earlier in the season.

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Dodgers Playoff Roster: Piecing Together a Functional Bullpen

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

As the month of September is now upon us, and despite the foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will capture their fifth consecutive NL West division crown in the coming weeks, there really hasn’t been much discussion about a prospective playoff roster. Subjectively, it’s probably a lot better that way, because the next four weeks will be an audition of sorts for some areas of the roster, and the bullpen is shaping up to be a place that’s potentially loaded with surprises.

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Exactly How Good Is the Los Angeles Dodgers Bullpen?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

From a pitching standpoint, much of the spotlight from the opener against the Pirates on Monday evening was placed on lefty starter Alex Wood‘s performance and potential shoulder dilemma; however, the general perception of the Dodgers‘ bullpen as of late has been causing many fans to be a bit concerned, especially when looking ahead to the postseason.

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Dodgers Roster: Piecing Together the Optimal Bullpen

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(Mandatory Credit: Morry Gash/AP)

For many followers of the Dodgers, the general consensus was that the club needed some type of upgrade before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. In turn, with elite Baltimore closer Zach Britton being virtually untouchable, Los Angeles snagged a pair of southpaws in Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani during the waning moments of the cutoff period. Yet, now that the need for at least one lefty arm has been addressed, those same followers are still wondering if the team’s relief corps has enough firepower to succeed deep into the 2017 postseason.

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5 Reasons Why Dodgers Should Pursue Zach Britton Before 2017 Trade Deadline

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(Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports)

While the Dodgers have been extremely quiet so far during the weeks leading up to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, the silence doesn’t necessarily mean the front office isn’t working hard to negotiate a trade or two in order to upgrade an already stacked 25-man roster. If there is one departmental weakness on the club, it could be the vulnerability of the bullpen, despite the NL-leading 2.90 ERA. Furthermore, it’s apparent that the team could benefit from the acquisition of an elite lefty specialist, and nobody fits the bill better than Zach Britton of the Orioles. And we’re here to tell you five reasons why.

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A Preliminary Glance at the 2017 NL Cy Young Race

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(Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles/USA TODAY Sports)

Looking deep into the history books of the Los Angeles Dodgers, we tried to find out if Clayton Kershaw was the fastest pitcher to notch 15 wins in a season, only to discover that the great Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat in his final season back in 1966. Of course, Koufax would go on to capture his third NL Cy Young Award after posting a 27-9 record with a 1.73 ERA, along with five shutouts, 27 complete games and 317 strikeouts over an even 323 innings pitched.

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