Two posts in one day, it’s your lucky day. A brief graph:
(Catchers from 1956-2008 ranked by age and OPS+ scores with a limit of at least 350 PAs per season and at least 50% of their games behind the plate. Click the graph to enlarge to full-size)
Bengie Molina will be 34-years-old (in baseball age, but he’ll turn 35 by July) in 2009. You can see that most catchers past the age of 33-years-old start to decline in varying degrees. At age 35-years-old, most catchers aren’t playing for 350 PAs per season and producing above a 100 OPS+. You do see a spike in the 80-89 OPS+ range for this age-group. Maybe one last hurrah before they tumble over the cliff for good?
The mini-spike at age 37-years-old for the 120-129 OPS+ range was Greg Myers’ unexpected 2003 season, Mike Piazza, and Ernie Whitt. Anyways, interesting stuff to think about, since Molina has been such a big — sadly — part of our offense over the last two seasons.
I’ll note that I expected Molina to decline by the 2nd year of his deal, but he’s done quite well. But, as we know, catchers at his age can be a volatile group and with his weight issues, the Giants have to hope that he doesn’t join the sharp downward slope of his past catching brethren.