When Jorge Posada finally decides to call it a career, many will argue that he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. But right now, many are wondering if he even deserves a spot on a big league roster.
Among players that have at least 100 plate appearances this season, Posada’s .165 batting average is the worst in baseball. He does have six home runs. But unfortunately for him, he only has 12 other hits all year.
Posada is now a 39-year old catcher-turned-designated hitter making $13.1 million in the final year of his four-year, $52.4 million contract. And with such a sharp decline in production, it is worth wondering if we are witnessing an ugly end to a great career.
To try and answer the question, let’s compare Posada’s career production levels to a few other modern-day catchers with similar offensive numbers. We will use Weighted On Base Average (wOBA), a stat similar to OPS that looks at the overall offensive production of a player. One nice thing about wOBA is that it is on the same scale as On Base Percentage (OBP), so it is easier to recognise how well a player is doing (.335 is average).
All four of these catchers were excellent hitters in their own right. When we compare their wOBA by age, we see an interesting pattern develop late in their careers.
In each case, we see production jump back up a tad at age 37 before a very steep decline at ages 38 and 39. For Mike Piazza and Lance Parrish, the decline marked the end of their careers. But in the case of Carlton Fisk, we see him fight through the decline to put up several more productive seasons past age 38.
So far, Posada’s career mirrors these other great hitting catchers. But if you are a fan of Jorgie, you better hope he can find a similar late-career surge that Fisk experienced.
Data via Fangraphs.com