Aaron Gleeman has a nice piece on one of my favorite players, Julio Franco, at The Hardball Times. Julio is just fun to watch. He’s got a unique stance, a unique swing, and he always wears a super-serious demeanor on his face during the game. We have all been marveling at how this 45-year old guy can still play in the majors. He’s got an OPS over .800 (mostly platooned) with about half of it in OBP.
I thought I would take a look at his aging pattern compared to his contemporaries. Using the aging model I estimated for all players since 1980 here, I compare Julio’s OPS plus by age for every season he had at least 300 ABs.
Julio is not just weird now, he’s always been odd. While most players peak in their late 20s, Julio was still finding his groove. And he had some of his best seasons after his 35th birthday. No wonder Andy Van Slyke thinks the guy is on steroids. I certainly DO NOT think Julio is on steroids, but it is interesting what an anomaly he is.
I’d also like to wish Julio a speedy recovery from whatever ear problem is keeping him from traveling with the Braves right now. We could use him.