"Old Player Skills"
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 10:21PM
Jonathan Scippa in Adam Dunn, Batters, Brian McCann, Geovany Soto, Ike Davis, Prince Fielder
Matt Klaassen over at fangraphs.com recently looked at which players under the age of 27 in 2010 displayed "old player skills"; that is, players who tend to have high walk and power numbers, with low speed and batting average. Any player in the top 25% of walk rate, a speed score in the bottom 25 percent, ISO in the top half, and batting average in the lowest half made the cut. He found only three players in 2010: Prince Fielder, Brian McCann, and Ike Davis.

The first name that popped into my head when reading the article was Geovany Soto. Given that he turned 27 last year, he missed Klaassen’s cut for the study. However, his walk rate (16.0%), Speed Score (1.1), and ISO (.217) all put him in range of that "old player skill" category. His .280 batting average was a touch high, but not enough to totally disqualify him from consideration.

All three of Klaassen’s 2010 old skill players (and Soto) had below league average contact ratings last year as well. I’m not sure a low contact percentage fits the mold for "old player skills." However, older hitters, specifically power hitters, do tend to lose some quickness in their swing; this can certainly lead to more missed balls. And there is some evidence that players with power swings that hit for low average (like Adam Dunn) tend to have lower contact percentages.
Article originally appeared on MLB Baseball Analytics (https://baseballanalytics.org/).
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