Re: Fangraph's Top Free Agents
posted at 10/23/2013 8:48 AM EDT
In response to BosoxJoe5's comment:
The thijg with Salty is how often do you see catchers reach FA at 28 he is a young guy. Even if he gets 5 years he will only be 33. I think teams will risk extra years because of his age.
And, many catchers "peak" later than other positional players. Take VTek for instance, he led the league in PBs at ages 27 and 28; he did not begin to dominate in CERA until age 35 (2007) , he did not hit over .270 for a full season until he was 31 years old; and he did not have 200+ PAs and an OBP over .350 until 31 years old. His best 5 year stretch was easily from ages 31 to 35 (2003 to 2007). There are examples of catchers doing very well at earlier ages, but I think more than any other position, the catching position has more "late bloomers" than any other every day position.
Note on VTek:
1997-2002: 2028 PAs .264 54 260 (.335/.427/.762)
2003-2007: 2530 PAs .270 94 351 (.361/.464/.825)
Even his numbers at 36 and beyond are nit that bad for a catcher, especially the HR and RBIs per PA:
2008 - 2011: 1281 PAs .218 45 146 (.308/.393/.701)
I'm not assuming Salty is cut from the same mold as VTek, but they both were never good at throwing out runners, and maybe Salty will continue to improve his defense and staff handling as he ages.
Salty's 50 point spike in OBP this year may be a bit lucky, but he did improve his BB% and LD% significantly. He cut down of fly outs. I can see the odds being better that he continues to improve or stay the same rather than begin a decline at age 29.