Saturday, September 30, 2017

Baseball 2017: This is the year when everyone got old.

Baseball 2017: This is the year when everyone got old.

The link leads to a list of the worst hitters in baseball, ranked by OPS. It includes some obvious future Hall of Famers (Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols), and some great stars (Carlos Beltran, Jose Bautista). Adrian Gonzalez would also be on the list if he had enough at bats. Each of them had a negative WAR.

Will they bounce back?

Cabrera has the best chance because he's only 34, and his back may come back to health.

Adrian is 35 and his poor season can certainly have been attributable to a bad back and elbow.

Bautista's OPS has been on a negative path in the past three seasons (.913 to .818 to .677) and he's 36.

Pujols is a very old 37, and he represents a problem for the Angels. He knocked in 100 runs this year, so they can't just dismiss his performance altogether, despite his poor percentage stats (.289 OPB, .391 slugging), but he's clearly declining steadily. He's walking less, striking out more. His WAR over the past four years: 3.9, 3.1, 1.4, -1.6. He doesn't seem to have much gas left in the tank.

Beltran is 40, and he's just a shadow of his former self. After two poor years in 2014 and 2015, he had a brief but impressive redux last year (Triple Crown stats: .295 29-93), and that prompted the Astros to pay him $16 million for this season, but that was a one-year deal and he seems to have lost all the pop from his bat. Moreover, he's trying to get playing time in the best offensive line-up, top-to-bottom, in the majors. Among players with 100 or more at bats, his OPS was dead last on the team. I will not be surprised to see him retire.

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