Before the season started David Ortiz had some interesting articles and more as the season started. I even wrote about his Hall of Fame chances, but the one I want to draw your attention to was at Fangraphs and asked was Ortiz possibly going to have the best offensive season of any 40 year old ever? The simple answer was Maybe, but they considered it a long shot.
The analysis ignored WAR sine that stat will penalize Ortiz for playing DH and not having any defensive contribution. This is why Ortiz is in the argument for greatest age 40 offensive season. When you look back the top all time wRC+, which is a stat that specifically weighs a players full offensive contribution you find this is the top list of all time.
When the season started it looked like Ortiz might be in that conversation coming off a 138 wRC+ in 2015 although assuming age and wear it would be best to assume on the lower end making him unlikely to crack that list. So Ortiz is making an ass out of us all by obliterating that list and standing at a current wRC+ of 200. Not only would that be the greatest season of any 40 year old in baseball history, but it’s best in all of baseball right now and ranks 33 all time for a single season in baseball.
We are more than a third of the way through the season and Ortiz is not only having just a great season for a 40 year old, but one of the great season of all time at least offensively. When Matthew Kory wrote that post at FanGraphs he thought the idea was interesting surely, but thought just reaching the 138 wRC+ level of 2015 would be a solid season for Big Papi. Now we are watching something amazing that no one saw.
There is surely going to be regression as the summer wears on, but right now every rest of season projection expects his remainder of 2016 to maintain levels above 140 and near the 150 mark. It seems even with regression Ortiz would join this list in some regards. Otherwise maybe we’ll watch one of the greatest season ever?