StaTuesday: Torii Hunter and recent OFs that played at 40
Welcome to the latest edition of StaTuesday, where each week we’ll give you a different look at sports by examining a particular statistic or numbers.
Torii Hunter turned 40 years old this past weekend, making him the ninth active major league who is at least 40 (Alex Rodriguez will make it 10 on July 27).
Playing at 40 — and beyond — is rare, and even more so for a position player. Of the other eight current players who are 40, seven are pitchers (and, amazingly, none are left-handed).
There’s no question that Hunter is well beyond the prime of his career, however even his advance age he is enjoying a fine season. After hitting 16, 17 and 17 home runs the past three seasons, he already has 14 for the Minnesota Twins this season. On the flip side, his .256 batting average and .312 on-base percentage are his lowest since 2003. Still, Hunter’s OPS+ is a slightly above average 103 (for his career, Hunter is 278/333/464 with an OPS+ of 111).
But, again, he’s 40. What can be expected of him? Well, here’s some of the batting lines of recent 40-year-old outfielders (slash lines are batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage):
As most of these players — and Hunter — have proven, there is life in baseball at 40 (and beyond), but at the same point, the end can come quickly as well. But if Hunter wants to play beyond 2015 (he is a free agent after the season), don’t count him out.
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