What Papi’s career might look like

For those of you not into sabermetrics, Dan Szymborski over at Baseball Think Factory has projected the career of David Ortiz to the year 2016, when he will be 40 years old.

Some things of note:

  • Papi’s walk rate is projected to drop significantly starting this season, and 2008 shows a spike in strikeouts. Personally, I don’t see this one. Ortiz has crafted himself into one of the most complete hitters out there, and is still at the peak of his game when healthy.
  • ZiPS has Ortiz with just one more season where he slugs at least .600 and just two more seasons in which he’ll hit at least 40 HR. I think he’ll have another three seasons like that (including 2008), then I expect his performance to drop off pretty rapidly.
  • This projection thinks Ortiz can reach 556 HR in his career, which would rank him 12th all-time (on the current list) and definitely land him in the Hall of Fame. He ends with a line of .296/.390/.557. Woot!
  • If this projection is anywhere near correct, we should give Papi another 4-year extension after his current deal is up after 2010.

If you read down into the comments, there are a lot of people who try to compare him to Mo Vaughn, and predict a sudden end to his career. Please. Vaughn may have posted similar numbers as far as HR and RBI a few times, but he was a one-skill uppercut guy who never topped 100 walks in a season, even in his prime. He also never had fewer than 127 SO when he had at least 500 AB in a season, including a 181 SO nightmare 2000 in Anaheim. Ortiz has topped 100 walks for three straight seasons, and never struck out more than 133 times in one year (2004). He is a much more skilled hitter than Vaughn, period. At age 31, his OPS+ has been trending up for four years in a row, while Vaughn’s was stable until he crashed in his age 31 season. Big Papi will be a powerful fixture in our lineup for years to come, get used to it, haters.

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