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TIL: It’s All Downhill For Hitters Before/After Age 30

I’m currently in the middle of a 12-team mock draft at MLB.com with 11 other Fantasy Baseball fellas, and RotoWire.com’s Jason Collette chipped in a comment concerning remarks about 27-year-olds in baseball.

”I plan on writing this up over the weekend, but since I’ve seen the Age 27 thing a few times in this draft from folks, here’s the wOBA by age group for all players over the past 6 seasons:” — Collette

AgewOBASample Size
22.313119
23.314240
24.310330
25.315412
26.320454
27.320437
28.321530
29.323326
30.325395
31.319264
32.315213

”Food for thought.” — Collette

Weighted On-Base Average helps measure a hitter’s overall offensive value, as it combines several aspects of hitting into one number, weighting each attribute in proportion to their actual run value. This includes unintentional walks, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, HBPs and sac flies.

I promised I wouldn’t dig too deep, since Collette said he was writing about it this weekend, but a few interesting things popped up here.

  1. The breakout age looks to have been 26 over the past six seasons, as opposed to the magical Age of 27 my buddy Eric Mack has frequently touted. To be fair, he started talking about this back in the mid-2000s, when Age 27 may have been the better breakout age. But to be fair about being fair – I used to argue with him about it back then, too. Ron Shandler used to always pitch Ages 26-28 as the breakout range, which I still agree with – as does this evidence.
  2. Look at that drop from Age 30 – apparently the peak of hitters over the past six seasons – to Age 31. That six-point dropoff is the biggest drop from any year to the next. Then it takes another big dropoff at Age 32. From Age 30 to 32, players’ offensive values have regressed back to their pre-breakout stages.
  3. Why are there so few 29-year-olds compared to the other years? I blame PEDs somehow!
  4. Getting players between Ages 26 and 31 appears to be the sweet spot for hitters.

Here are five 30-year-old hitters ready for their best offensive seasons! (If we were to take everything literal):

Melky Cabrera will play on his sixth team (White Sox) in seven seasons in 2015. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Melky Cabrera will play on his sixth team (White Sox) in seven seasons in 2015.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison

  • Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado: Hey, I took him in that mock draft in the second round! Brilliant!
  • Matt Kemp, OF, San Diego: Guessing his move to Petco Park will hinder his “best season” wOBA.
  • Prince Fielder, 1B, Texas: Leaning towards taking him in Round 6! Don’t tell anyone!
  • Ryan Zimmerman, 3B/OF, Washington: Apparently, 30 years ago this year, women were giving birth to injury-prone ballers.
  • Melky Cabrera, OF, Chicago White Sox: Maybe the player to jump up a couple spots in my rankings after this discussion. The White Sox added Cabrera and Adam LaRoche to the top half of their lineup. I dig.

So look for Collette’s article on Rotowire.com this weekend. He’s one of my favorite writers out there – and one of my favorite guys to drink some beers with at Tout Wars. He’s a Rays fan – you can’t beat that!

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