A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Can Carlos Delgado Still Be Productive?

The Mets, Rangers, and Marlins are heavily interested in bringing Carlos Delgado onto one of their teams. At this point, Carlos looks like he is going to receive a four year contract which would bring him to the age of 36/37 when the season ends in 2008. Since I'm not smart enough to do any Bill James type statistical analysis to project a player's future performance, I decided to take a look at some different players who I think would be in Delgado's class at their respective positions. I took at look at some offensive first baseman of recent years as well Gary Sheffield and Jeff Kent because I think they are comparable players in terms of being the right age and some of the best at what they do. Obviously it can be expected that 99% of the players will not see improvement like Barry Bonds has into his 40's, but top tier players can still be effective well into their mid 30's and beyond. I took each players five seasons from the age of 28 to 32 and compared them with their 33 to 36 year old seasons. In Sheffield's and Thome's case, they have not played four seasons after they turned 32 yet so I just used however many they did play.

Carlos Delgado

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
.AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
151
535
102
158
37
37
118
103
112
.296
.419
.578


Jeff Bagwell

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
158
565
128
172
39
39
125
125
114
.304
.436
.586
33-36
159
587
108
165
33
34
104
98
129
.281
.387
.520


Tino Martinez

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
154
576
87
160
31
28
115
65
81
.278
.352
.486
33-36
145
509
70
137
24
23
83
55
76
.270
.345
.459


Rafael Palmeiro

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
147
565
100
165
33
35
107
70
84
.291
.369
.543
33-36
160
587
99
173
32
44
128
95
82
.295
.394
.579


Jim Thome

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
153
527
104
148
27
44
118
118
170
.281
.413
.587
33
143
508
97
139
28
42
104
104
144
.274
.396
.581


Fred McGriff

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
144
531
87
156
30
32
100
71
101
.293
.376
.537
33-36
151
556
77
159
27
25
97
81
114
.287
.378
.471


Andres Galaraga

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
27-33
137
529
78
157
24
25
89
34
129
.297
.345
.488
34-37
152
584
108
176
32
41
129
47
148
.302
.362
.574

* I took out Andres' '91 and '92 season since he was injured and used his '88, '89, '90, '93, '94, '95, '96, and '97 seasons.

Gary Sheffield

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
140
400
76
124
20
27
79
78
67
.310
.423
.568
33-35
148
547
108
169
31
33
112
83
64
.309
.405
.552


Jeff Kent

AGE
G
AB
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
BB
SO
AVG
OBP
SLG
28-32
129
528
89
154
37
26
106
56
108
.291
.361
.517
33-36
152
569
90
171
41
27
103
51
95
.300
.361
.529


In some of the cases players benefited from certain ballparks or lineups and there were some other variables involved, but overall it gives a pretty good picture of how production after 32 is common for the stars of today. Steve Finley had set career highs in homers three times after turning 33 and no one expects Manny Ramirez to slow down after turning 33 in the 2005 season. Elite players are a bit different than the average major leaguer and even in their decline are still going to put out top production. It is completely reasonable to assume that Carlos Delgado can continue to produce for whatever team signs him for the next three to four years. He does not play a demanding position and has stated that he does not want to be a DH and wants to primarily play first base if he signs with an American League team. Between 1998 and 2004, Delgado has played 1018 games at first compared to 31 games at DH. I am not concerned whatsoever about having Delgado play on a National League team without a DH. He has been very healthy in his career and he has played an average of 156 games per season in the five seasons leading up to 2004 when he landed on the DL for a substantial amount of games. His injury seems to be behind him judging by his .330/.432/.600 with 36 runs, 66 hits, 15 doubles, 17 homers, and 54 RBIs in 200 at-bats in August, September, and October. It can be expected that moving into Shea would impact anyone's offensive numbers, but as Piazza had showed us back in '99 through '02 players can perform there.

The Mets need his bat in the cleanup spot and he can still give the Mets some monster years at this stage of his career. However Omar needs to work him into the mix, it has to be done. The dimension he would add to the team with protecting Beltran and getting on base for Piazza and Floyd would ignite the offense tremendously. Over the past few years I've watch Piazza and Floyd come up to bat countless times without RBI chances and Delgado can help create runs for this club and make Beltran's life at Shea infinitely easier.

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