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Fangraphs: Catcher Aging Curve


Can_of_corn

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http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/catcher-aging-is-a-curve-not-a-cliff/

4dave_catcher_aging.jpg

This chart is in batting runs relative to league average, so we’re only talking about offense here, since quantifying catcher defense is a bit of a tricky animal anyway. Since it’s a counting stat, it also factors in playing time, so we don’t have to make separate adjustments for performance and health. As we can see, peak offensive levels are from 25 to 28, as is pretty commonly accepted, and then there’s a gradual decline as a player gets beyond those years. But notice the trend of the blue line (catchers) compared to all position players (the red line); they move basically in lock-step from 27 to 32, after which point catchers actually age better than the norms for non-catchers.
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I wonder if this aging trend factors in players like Mike Napoli or Victor Martinez who start out as catchers but then move their main playing time to 1b/DH? The article doesn't seem to indicate whether this was taken into account and if it wasn't, it could explain part of how the catcher curve stayed near the other curve. And if it was taken into account, I guess it's just some evidence to suggest that our intuition about catchers running out of gas earlier than position players is just our assumptions playing tricks on us!

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I'm surprised that graph is even close to other position players, much less a little ahead in latter years.

I guess that losing speed due to age is less of a factor at catcher, since speed is not generally part of the skill-set to begin with. Additionally, league knowledge and leadership abilities gained with experience are attributes teams look for in their catcher.

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I guess that losing speed due to age is less of a factor at catcher, since speed is not generally part of the skill-set to begin with. Additionally, league knowledge and leadership abilities gained with experience are attributes teams look for in their catcher.

Hmph! I fully expect Matt Wieters to sustain his career 86% stolen base success rate!

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