To illustrate, let’s go to the good old fashioned Player A versus Player B
Player A Player B Age AVG OBP SLG AVG OBP SLG 30 300 377 538 292 393 452 31 277 367 445 251 342 495 32 282 345 417 249 337 398
Player B is Corey Koskie and Player A is Detroit Tiger legend and scapegoat, Bobby Higginson. While the numbers don’t match up exactly, both players appear to suffer a decline in average at age 32/33. While Higginson’s numbers declined more rapidly, the pattern appears to be farily similar. I chose Higginson because he was familiar to Tiger fans, but there are other more telling cases.
Using Baseball Reference, here are the 10 most similar players to Koskie
958 Chris Sabo 949 Melvin Mora 947 Whitey Kurowski 937 Aaron Boone 934 Torii Hunter 934 Hank Thompson 932 Dave Hollins 932 Jeffrey Hammonds 927 Ellis Valentine 926 Mike Lowell
While Melvin Mora was definitely a late bloomer who has continued to perform well, the rest of the list isn’t too promising. The combined statistics from Age 33 on for that group are 259/321/417. That isn’t too bad, until you realize that over half of the at-bats accumulated by the group were from Melvin Mora last year. Very few of the group played at all, yet alone significantly after they turned 33. Granted, Torii Hunter, Aaron Boone, and Mike Lowell haven’t reached age 33 yet, but Lowell and Boone have already experienced serious decline.Now none of this means that Koskie won’t be a productive player in the future. He would still provide solid defense, and can still work the count. It’s also likely his thumb injury from last year hampered his offensive performance. If he comes back healthy he could regain his old form. But then again, aren’t Tiger fans already saying that about a couple key contributors?
(Special Thanks to Chris who wrote and raised the question).