Nelson Cruz at age 36, Part II
muchas gracias a Mr. Arkins for a well-thought-out launching point

Adding up in simple terms, Luke came up with +5 -8 =2, for the guys who had the best age-35 years, in their following age-36 seasons.  A few reactions:

(1) There's some tendency for the infielders-with-power, the guys with small frames who hit the ball hard, to cluster in the disappointing area.

(2) Age 36 is very, very old for a baseball player.  No doubts there.

(3)  John Benson Rule:  A player is who he was when we last saw him, meaning, late last year.  Nelson Cruz again finished very strongly, slugging .571 over the second half - despite injuries.  

Bet you there'd be some tendency for the Werth-Rollins list to fade a bit in their age-35 years... let's check it out.  Was there any tendency for this "dropoff" list to telegraph a DWN season with a fade in the second half?


VICTOR MARTINEZ:  Wait.  First thing to note is that he bounced back at age 37 (this year) to hit at historical norms.  That don't count, do it?.  We're talking about whether people lose their ability to hit permanently.

Anyway, in V-Mart's age 35 season he did drop off majorly in the second half.  He had hit .305 with a .514 slug in the first half of his age-35 season, but sank to .269 with a .426 SLG as he hit the second half.  Then he had that DWN age-36 season, but a good age-37 season.


JAYSON WERTH:  Two names in, Dr. D is feeling very good about Boomstick.  Is 'cuz Jayson Werth was never my idea of a super talented hitter; not sure how he surfaced on this list.  Anyway, Werth did NOT sink in his age-35 second half; he got a little better.  Then he hit the wall at age 36.  Surprising to me that this player did not hit the wall at age 32.  That's when ballplayers turn horse manure, age 32 or age 33, unless they're Nelson Cruz.


SCOTT ROLEN:  His last All-Star season was certainly at age 35.  He faded badly in the second half of that season, going from a .548 SLG in the first half to a .420 SLG in the second.  That's 17 homers at the break and three after.  

Valid comp to Cruz at the plate.  But again Dr. D is pleasantly surprised, because Rolen telegraphed his crash, certainly, and Nelson Cruz was awesome when we last saw him.  Including in the last coupla games we saw him.


JUAN URIBE:  I ain't doin' this.  Uribe's lifetime OPS+ is 87.  Neither are we gonna compare Steph Curry to Richard Sherman.

Uribe showed up on Luke's fine list because of a high WAR total that year.  That's fine, but my own thread is doing something a little different:  thinking about Nelson Cruz' likelihood of 30 dings and 90 RBI next year.

For the record, Uribe didn't fade in the second half of his age-35 season.


JIMMY ROLLINS:  5'7", 175 lbs.  At age 33-34, his OPS+ was in the 90's; at age 35 it was 100 exactly; at age 36 it was about 80.  "FILTER."

Before I started this, I shoulda acknowledged P-I's use of the WAR stat in compiling these lists.  Which is very cool, but.  There's a difference between soft-skills WAR heroes like Chone Figgins and hard-RBI WAR players.  That distinction is my own; I'm free to make it and it doesn't reflect on the earlier list.


CARLOS LEE:  Now we're talkin'.  About thick-chested mashers, that is.

But ... whaaaa?  He hadn't slugged anywhere near .500 since age 33.   ... ?!   Which is where you expect a player of Lee's quality to decline.


OK, at this point Dr. D is belatedly realizing that he's been talking apples and oranges... Chase Utley we ain't gonna look up on Uribe-Rollins grounds.

Mark Teixeira is the last guy and he's a really good one; he slugged .548 in his age-35 season and then fell off the table the next year (THIS year).  Did Teixeira fade late in 2015?

He did not fade.  Well ... actually he was only able to play 28 games in the second half of his age-35 season, so yeah, he did.  He hit gret in July (.724 SLG!) but slugged only .333 in a shortened August and then could not play in September.  The next year he was horse manure.  So, it's up to you whether you consider that a telegraph...


Now we go back to the top of the list of age-35 players, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Co, guys who played well for years after age 35.

Not calling this a "study," and not submitting it to for peer review, and factoring in human intuition a quick look kinda leaves Dr. D in this spot:


That's not a guarantee, obviously.  Star players are year to year in their mid 30's, even if they finished strong.  But that finishing strong part, I bet you it's important.

Be Afraid,



Seattle Sports Outsider's picture

Don't forget that the physical benefits of PEDs can have a positive effect lasting many years AFTER use of them has stopped.


Was saying during the *2016* spring training that if anything, Cruz looked bigger.  Compared him to a hybrid DE/LB in football.  Think Boomstick is testing the limits of that residual steroids theory ... :- )


Ortiz was a juicer, and so was Cruz.  Whether they are receiving residual benefits or just riding a different wave of Cream and Clear, I don't expect Cruz to tank.  The Seattle MOTO should be fine next year.  It's the rest that needs work.  We won't see O'Neill until June and the young arms aren't ready, so the April lineup improvements need to be made this offseason.


... about the roster, that is.  I'll bet you they could win 117 and change 7 spots on the 25-man during the offseason.

Good to have y'back G.  You realize there are blog tags that read "Aiki Mechanics," "POTD," and "Gordon" among others ;- )   The M's in the AFL, including those with 104-MPH fastballs, might be one subject that moves you to deploy your urge to write .. you know you want it...


and Cruz was more questioned.  Here we are with Cruz who's been unbelievable.  He was good with the Oriole's and the Rangers before but his career years have both been here at 34 and 35. His age 29 season was probably his 3rd best, the only other year he slugged. 500 and plenty.  So Cruz has been worth 9 WAR while Martinez has been -1.1.  Martinez seemed safer then but I don't think anyone even expected close to what Cruz has been from V-Mart.  Cruz was signed for $10 million less over the same 4 years($58mm/ $68mm).  But why is he suddenly the best of both slugging and on base that he'd ever been through 33 at 34 and 35?  PEDs can't be the only answer, can they?

If you're thinking Edgar, Cruz was at .315/.379/.566/.945 through the day before Edgar was hired in 2015.  Maybe Cano had the right tip at the right time?  

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

M's seriously wanted V-Mart.  But V-Mart did not want to leave Tiget cage, even for more money elsewhere.  Remember it wa a last minute re-sign there when Pizza Man jumped offer.  

Boomersticky  didn't have any love in Bal'more, even after a bang bang season ... and he didn' go up to the altar when Birds couldn't seem to locate the ring ... or even the church.



whether you were Capt. Jack Sparrow mode when you posted this, or simply at the very top of your game... the reader's inability to decide is frightening and delightful at the same time...

Keep it comin' Billy


Just maybe Cruz is the RHB version of a David Ortiz.  Just maybe.  Ortiz, at 40, just led the league in Slg. and OPS.......and IBB which indicates a fair level of respect.

Sometimes guys are just really good.  

Freaks, in other words.  

Nolan Ryan was a freak. 

In 2014, Cruz had a cruddy FIRST half (.783)!  Since, it has been (by half seasons) .930, .892, .976, .915, .957!!


It is possible that Cruz forgets how to hit between Sept. '16 and May '17.  Or maybe he quickly gets as old as my dad (88 and on his 6th hip...the 2 God gave him and 4 fake ones).  But I'm not betting on that level of crash.  In '18 he may embarrass the idea of a clean-up hitting DH...but not in '17.  

And if he crashes he still a guessing, 25 HR guy.  

At 42, Ichiro just had his best season since he hit .315 at  age 36.

Some guys are freaks.  Cruz is indicating some freakishness in his DNA; or some PED-influence in his aging process.  I'm not sure which.

But it doesn't make much diference at this point.


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