Fun with Numbers


As I'm doing some research into whether or not I think the Dodgers should give Matt Kemp the most expensive contract for an outfielder in history I've found some things that might be interesting to a few of you.

We all knew that Don Mattingly was one hell of a hitter early on in his career but I did not know that since 1958, he has the fourth highest career OPS+ by the age of 26. At age 23 Donny started his MVP numbers by coming in 5th, he followed that up with his lone MVP season at age 24. At age 25 he came in 2nd, and age 26 he came in 7th. That would be the last time Donny would finish top fourteen in the MVP vote.. He would have a 15th and 17th later on. As a great player he was done by age 26 even though he would go on to have two more all star seasons. For a four year stretch from age 23 - 26, Don Mattingly was the best hitter in baseball unless it was...........

His peer in the NL was Will Clark who was almost just as dominant in his early years, but who peaked at age 25 not 26. From age 23 - 25 Will Clark had MVP votes of 5, 5, and 2. His OPS+ in those years were 162,150, 175. The huge difference between Will Clark and Don Mattingly is that Will Clark would continue to be an above average player his whole career only one time having an OPS+ below 120 in his remarkable 15 season career.

HOF Jim Rice came in 3rd in the MVP vote and second in the ROY vote during the 1975 season. His teammate Fred Lynn won the MVP and ROY.  Historically the greatest rookie outfield in history, easily the greatest outfield 23 and younger in history with Dwight Evans, Fred Lynn, and Jim Rice.  At age 24 Jim Rice would start his own MVP run, finishing fourth at age 24, first at age 25, and fifth at age 26. Jim would not get another top 10 MVP vote until age 30 when he got fourth, and then at age 33 finished 3rd.

As you can see the highest OPS+ in this group is 169 for Albert and 141 for Cepada since I made 140 the cutoff.

 

                                                                                                          
Rk              Player OPS+   PA From   To   Age    H  2B 3B  HR RBI  BB  OBP  SLG   OPS       Pos      Tm
1        Albert Pujols  169 4062 2001 2006 21-26 1159 260 12 250 758 493 .419 .629 1.047  *37/59D6     STL
2           Dick Allen  163 3184 1963 1968 21-26  840 144 57 145 455 358 .380 .551  .931   *57/684     PHI
3       Frank Robinson  155 3148 1958 1962 22-26  839 172 25 174 551 360 .395 .584  .979    793/85     CIN
4        Don Mattingly  150 3078 1982 1987 21-26  923 198 13 123 516 222 .376 .543  .919 *3/975D84     NYY
5    Darryl Strawberry  149 3387 1983 1988 21-26  768 143 28 186 548 449 .366 .529  .894     *9/87     NYM
6          Ken Griffey  148 4558 1989 1996 19-26 1204 227 21 238 725 504 .381 .549  .930    *8/D39     SEA
7           Will Clark  148 3088 1986 1990 22-26  815 150 27 117 447 319 .375 .507  .883        *3     SFG
8       Reggie Jackson  147 3154 1967 1972 21-26  700 128 20 157 419 371 .355 .494  .849     *98/7 KCA-OAK
9       Alex Rodriguez  144 4972 1994 2002 18-26 1354 255 16 298 872 472 .380 .579  .958      *6/D SEA-TEX
10   Vladimir Guerrero  144 3044 1996 2001 21-26  879 169 29 170 512 234 .378 .587  .965     *9/8D     MON
11      Miguel Cabrera  141 4441 2003 2009 20-26 1220 253 12 209 753 446 .383 .542  .925    5379/D FLA-DET
12        Jose Canseco  141 3664 1985 1991 20-26  867 156  8 209 647 370 .348 .518  .866    *97D/8     OAK
13            Jim Rice  141 3456 1974 1979 21-26  976 149 49 172 583 236 .359 .552  .910    *7D/98     BOS
14      Orlando Cepeda  141 4434 1958 1964 20-26 1266 223 22 222 747 252 .353 .537  .890    *37/95     SFG

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/26/2011.

As you can see only 14 players had at least 3,000 plate appearances with an OPS+ > 140 from age 21 - 26. Now lets take a look from age 27 - 32 and see what we find:

WOW, 51 players make the same cut.

Some make both lists:

Albert Pujols is 4th

Dick Allen is 6th

Frank Robinson is 8th

No Don Mattingly

No Daryl Strawberry

Ken Griffy is 47th

No Will Clark

Reggie Jackson is 31st

Alex Rodriquez is only 26th (surprise to me)

Vlady is right behind Arod at 27th. (so the 9 and 10 from age 21 - 26 are 26 and 27 from age 27 - 32, that is cool)

Miggy does not qualify yet

Canseco be gone

Jim Rice be gone

Cepada be gone

Top twelve are:

                                                                                       
Rk           Player OPS+   PA From   To   Age    H  HR  BB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS     Pos
1       Barry Bonds  186 3760 1992 1997 27-32  913 232 743 .309 .448 .620 1.068    *7/8
2     Mickey Mantle  179 3211 1959 1964 27-32  778 205 591 .300 .428 .591 1.019   *8/97
3    Willie McCovey  173 3635 1965 1970 27-32  876 226 565 .291 .405 .578  .983      *3
4     Albert Pujols  172 3371 2007 2011 27-31  914 195 482 .324 .423 .602 1.025  *3/5D4
5     Manny Ramirez  168 3652 1999 2004 27-32 1002 236 515 .327 .428 .633 1.061     79D
6        Dick Allen  166 3110 1969 1974 27-32  790 174 417 .297 .390 .557  .947 *35/74D
7      Jason Giambi  164 4066 1998 2003 27-32 1005 223 690 .308 .434 .577 1.011   *3D/5
8    Frank Robinson  164 3667 1963 1968 27-32  915 177 461 .294 .394 .537  .931  *97/38
9       Willie Mays  163 4038 1958 1963 27-32 1130 219 429 .318 .390 .584  .974    *8/6
10     Jeff Bagwell  161 4084 1995 2000 27-32  989 218 706 .302 .431 .573 1.004    *3/D
11       Hank Aaron  161 4013 1961 1966 27-32 1125 223 398 .315 .381 .569  .950 *98/453
12   Gary Sheffield  160 3701 1996 2001 27-32  894 198 654 .302 .430 .560  .990    79/D

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/26/2011.

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