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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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Game Thread: Twins vs. Seattle, 4/10/21 @ 1:10pm

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:16 PM
Welcome back to the Twins Daily game thread party! After a rare Friday night off the Minnesota Twins will take on the Seattle Mariners t...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:09 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:52 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:19 PM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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Top 5 Seasons For MLB Hitters Over 40-Years-Old

The Twins have signed up Nelson Cruz for a another round with the Bomba Squad. He will turn 41-years old this season, so let’s examine the top seasons from hitters over 40-years old.
Image courtesy of © Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
To be clear, Cruz is going to have to put himself into elite company if he wants to crack into this top-5 list. Every name below is a member of the Hall of Fame and some of the players are considered among the best to every play the game.

5. Sam Rice, 1930 (Age-40)
4.6 WAR, .349/.407/.457, 1 HR, 73 RBI, 123 wRC+
In a weird way, the Twins can claim Rice since he was a member of the Washington Senators and that franchise would eventually move to Minnesota. The 1930 campaign saw Rice compile a career high WAR, which is pretty crazy to consider it was 16th year. Few home runs were hit during Rice’s playing career, but he scored a career high 121 runs. He’d play through his age 44 season, but the 1930 season was his last where he played more than 120 games.

4. Carlton Fisk, 1990 (Age-42)
5.0 WAR, .285/.378/.451, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 133 wRC+
Fisk would play until his age-45 season and he made his last All-Star team as a 43-year-old, when he played over 100 games for the final time. In 1990, he posted a batting average of over .285 for only the second time since the late 1970s. His entire slash line was higher than his career marks with the exception of his slugging percentage. Over his final six seasons, he averaged less than 90 games player per year. Twins fans can hope for Cruz to be better than his career marks this year, but it’s also critical for him to play more than 90 games.

3. Luke Appling, 1949 (Age-42)
5.2 WAR, .301/.439/.394, 5 HR, 82 RBI, 130 wRC+
In 1949, Appling was four seasons removed from a missed year and a half due to military service. He put together a tremendous season, but he’d only manage to play 50 games in 1950 before retiring. His batting average was nine points lower than his career mark but his on-base percentage was 40 points higher. It was one of his best defensive seasons as the White Sox continued to trot him out to play shortstop and third base. His single digit home runs might stand out to some fans, but he never had a season with double-digit home runs. His career high in longballs came in his age-40 season when he ended the year with 8 homers.

2. Honus Wagner, 1915 (Age-41)
5.5 WAR, .274./.325/.422, 6 HR, 78 RBI, 125 wRC+
Wagner is an interesting case because he was still providing solid defensive value in his age-41 season. Granted defensive metrics were all but non-existent before the 2000s, but he was still playing multiple defensive positions including shortstop. All of Wagner’s slash line was lower than his career totals, but it’s hard to match those marks when you are a .328/.391/.467 hitter. It was his last season where he’d play over 150 games and it was his last season with a positive defensive value.

1. Willie Mays, 1971 (Age-40)
5.9 WAR, .271/.425/.482, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 157 wRC+
It’s fitting that arguably the greatest all-around player in baseball history tops this list. His last full season in a Giants uniform saw some memorable feats. He’d lead the National League in walks for the only time in his career. What’s more amazing is that he had never had more than 82 walks in a season he set a career high with 112 free passes in 1971. All those walks helped him to post a career high .424 on-base percentage which also lead the National League. It was final season playing over 130 games and he’d be out of baseball after 1973.

One thing is clear by looking at this list and that is Cruz doesn’t have many years left at the big-league level. Do you think Cruz can do better than any of the players named above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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12 Comments

Your article shows why you have to keep going year to year on the contracts.You will get left paying too much on the last one. Look how many had very good years but were done within two years after a very good season.I remember watching Willie Mays play that last year for the Mets. It was very hard to watch such a great player hitting about .210 and such a great fielder struggling in the field. But his last games were in the World Series so maybe we can hope for the same for Nelson Cruz.

    • mikelink45 and JoshDungan1 like this

Fun article. It would be nice to see the last two years of Cruz's stat lines if for an edit just to compare it to the others. 

    • Krasnoludki and Nine of twelve like this
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Nine of twelve
Feb 08 2021 05:21 AM

 


1. Willie Mays, 1971 (Age-40)
5.9 WAR, .271/.425/.482, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 157 wRC+
It’s fitting that arguably the greatest all-around player in baseball history tops this list.

I've posted this before, but I'll repeat. In addition to being far above and beyond his contemporaries as a batter Babe Ruth was also an elite pitcher. In terms of batting, fielding, and base running Mays may have been better than Ruth. Maybe. But Ruth was inarguably the best all-around player in baseball history.

    • mikelink45 and puckstopper1 like this

 

I've posted this before, but I'll repeat. In addition to being far above and beyond his contemporaries as a batter Babe Ruth was also an elite pitcher. In terms of batting, fielding, and base running Mays may have been better than Ruth. Maybe. But Ruth was inarguably the best all-around player in baseball history.

 

It depends on what you value and how you define it. Mays was such a great fielder and hitter...did anyone even think about asking him to pitch? Ruth also played in a segregated era, with all that entails. They ended up very close in career bWAR totals 162.1 for Ruth v. 156.2 for Mays, and Mays missed a season for military service. Which one was "better"? yes.

 

Back to Cruz...I don't think he'll pass any of these players for "best season over 40" mostly because Cruz is gonna DH and all of these guys played the field. Maybe, just maybe he can top Sam Rice, but it's really hard for a DH to punch out a 5 bWAR season because of the position adjustment. I do think he'll have another good season, OPS+ around 140-150 and be an important cog in the offense.

    • Trov and DannySD like this

Considering three of these were earlier, would have preferred seeing the Top five since the Korean War (1950).  

 

Can Cruz have a season like those at the top, yes. The bigger question is, will he? At some point his skill is going to erode. Will it begin some time this year? Or did it begin mid-way thru last year? The really good news is that the Twins were able to wait him out and get a one year deal. Now let's hope like heck he has one more good year in him.

Nice article.  

Henry Aaron - .268 .341 .491 at age 40 with 20 HRs.Two mediocre years left in his career.

 

Year by year contracts are essential, Cruz can crash quickly even though he has the advantage of modern medical help.I always think of Pujols who continues to take money that the Angels surely regret because they paid him for the first half of his career that was with the Cardinals.Age 40 - .224 .270 .395.  

 

 

    • Danchat and DannySD like this
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Aerodeliria
Feb 08 2021 09:49 AM
Darrell Evans was another big time producer at age 40, and Twins fans remember him in the playoff games against the Tigers. He was feared--he walked 100 times!

PA: 609
AB: 499
RUNS:90
HRS: 34
RBI: 99
AVG: .257
OBP: .379
SLG: 507
OPS: 880
WAR: 4.6

Notice how all five are HOF players?It shows only a few can put up big numbers late in career, and that makes them HOF.Very few players can produce in late 30's and beyond.  

 

Cruz will not put up the overall WAR due to being just a DH.I think he will put up fine enough numbers for the year to justify being the DH. If he is our best offensive player that maybe good because I expect decent offense, but I do not think he will be best offensive guy.I think he will be lower in lineup, but maybe not.He may keep raking, and I hope he does.  

 

The question is what will be considered good season for him?I sure hope he plays the full year and drives in another 100 with 30 plus HR.I also feel he brings good things to clubhouse too that you do not see on the field each day, but pays off in long run. 

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nowheresville
Feb 08 2021 11:06 AM

 

I always think of Pujols who continues to take money that the Angels surely regret because they paid him for the first half of his career that was with the Cardinals.Age 40 - .224 .270 .395.  

 

The other interesting thing with Pujols is that he's all but admitted he's actually 2 years older than his official listed age, and last year he was probably his age 42 season. 

 

Not that it really changes the comparison with Cruz, as even by Pujols "age 38" season, he'd fallen off significantly, just another wrinkle in the challenge of trying to make age based comparisons. 

    • mikelink45 likes this

Why is David Ortiz not on this list? 5.2 WAR as a DH in his age 40 season. It was arguably his best, with an OPS over 1.000 and 127 RBI's, which led the league. He finished 3rd in MVP voting. 

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

Notice how all five are HOF players?It shows only a few can put up big numbers late in career, and that makes them HOF.Very few players can produce in late 30's and beyond.  

 

Cruz will not put up the overall WAR due to being just a DH.I think he will put up fine enough numbers for the year to justify being the DH. If he is our best offensive player that maybe good because I expect decent offense, but I do not think he will be best offensive guy.I think he will be lower in lineup, but maybe not.He may keep raking, and I hope he does.  

 

The question is what will be considered good season for him?I sure hope he plays the full year and drives in another 100 with 30 plus HR.I also feel he brings good things to clubhouse too that you do not see on the field each day, but pays off in long run. 

David Ortiz was worth 5.2 WAR as a DH in his age 40 season. Also a HOF player. At least I think he will get in- he does have the PED asterisk though.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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Thebigalguy
Feb 08 2021 06:02 PM

Two words: Tom Brady. Age: 43. Last night: 7th Super Bowl ring. I say that Cruz can do the same as DH for the Twins. Cruz might not subscribe to TB12 but he's a fitness nut himself, so much so that the Twins hired his chef. Sooner or later Brady, like Cruz, will cede the field to Time. I have every hope that it won't be this year.


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