In Wednesday’s 9-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins, designated hitter David Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two home runs and a double. At 38 years old, Ortiz continues to get better… like a fine wine.
As he inches closer to 40-years-old, Ortiz continues to play at an All-Star level. In 37 games this season, the 2013 World Series MVP is hitting .305 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs.
Since Ortiz turned 35-years-old, he has had a batting average of .309 with 93 home runs and 284 RBIs. He also has a .400 on-base percentage and a .568 slugging percentage. So with numbers like that, where does Ortiz rank among the greatest 35 and older hitters of all time?
Ortiz’s 93 home runs rank 54th all-time when it comes to career home runs beginning in a player’s age-35 season. He is only one behind Dwight Evans and Joe Carter.
Ortiz doesn’t have any shot to pass Barry Bonds on the ‘most home runs after 35’ list. Bonds has 317 home runs after 35 and Ortiz would have to average 30 home runs until he turn 46-years-old for him to even get close to Bonds’ mark.
The Red Sox have Ortiz signed through the 2015 season, and his contract has vesting options for 2016 and 2017. Assuming Ortiz plays another three more seasons, he will probably finish in the top 10 on the above-noted list. I can see Ortiz finishing somewhere between two former great Red Sox players, Carlton Fisk (193 home runs after 35-years-old) and Ted Williams (184).
Not only has Ortiz demonstrated power in his late 30s, he has an amazing OPS as well. In the four seasons since turning 35, Ortiz has had an OPS of .952 (2011), 1.026 (2012), .959 (2013) and .992 (2014). So this means, not only is he hitting for a high average, he is also finding other ways to get on base.
Even though he was a late bloomer at age 27, Ortiz is pretty much a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame. If last season’s World Series didn’t convince baseball fans then just look at his resume after the age of 35. Red Sox fans just hope Ortiz continues to improve with age and experience.