If you watch baseball long enough, you’ll hear the adage of the Age-27 season. This rule of thumb says that players usually figure things out at the Major league level during this Age-27 season. It sounds anecdotal, but it has plenty of merit, as most athletes reach their physical prime around this age to go along with enough experience of being a professional athlete. This quick post looks at five players currently going through that Age-27 breakout. All these players are experiencing a significant boost in their offensive performance. And, if you notice, their respective teams are all in the upper half of the Majors when it comes to their W-L record.
Michael Brantley has been around for quite some time, a well-regarded prospect called up at 22 and given regularly playing time since. This year, he’s finally become the force Cleveland hoped he would be, a testament to his hard work and improving batting eye. His OPS has climbed from last year’s .728 to an impressive .877, most welcome for an Indians squad that has struggled to find quality OF hitting the past few years. He’s on pace to blow past his career highs for walks, runs, and RBI, and has already equaled his career-best 10 homers. He is a big reason why Cleveland has suddenly turned it on after a rough April.
In about the same amount of PAs, he’s matched or surpassed last year’s production in all the major number categories while being an above-average run producer. A big part of this early-season breakout came during his torrid April, where he posted an absurd 1.034 OPS. But, as his Colorado Rockies have cooled, so has he, as he is not having as much success so far in June.Charlie Blackmon is the inspiration for this post. Considered a fringe prospect for years, Blackmon has gradually found a role within the Rockies’ crowded outfield. He’s an almost-everyday player , taking over in RF due to Michael Cuddyer’s health issues, though manager Walt Weiss regularly sits him and his poor .627 OPS against left-handed starters.
Brandon Crawford and Brian Dozier are valued more for their defensive capabilities, but their strides at the plate has made them into valuable pieces for their respective clubs. Crawford’s improved patience at the plate has seen him draw more walks and raise his extra-base production, putting him in line for career years. Dozier has been loving Target Field (.914 OPS), but his biggest improvement is in his ability to get on base and taking extra bases, as he’s matched or is on his way to besting his walk totals, stolen bases, and showing some valuable pop. Playing SS and 2B respectively, their improved plate discipline has made these two into commodities that any team would covet, regardless of their .245ish batting averages.
Finally, there’s Evan Gattis. He was one of the league’s biggest finds last season, taking a long and strange road to get to the show. His clutch heroics and massive power endeared him to Atlanta fans immediately, which prompted the Braves to open up a starting spot at catcher for him. Excellent move, as he’s gone on to become an even bigger force. With today’s game being so pitching dominant, getting on base via walks is a huge asset, and he’s done an excellent job improving on that. However, it’s the power numbers that you want out of Gattis, and he’s delivering in spades. With an 85-point improvement in his slugging so far, he’s showing that he can be a consistent performer for an always-struggling Braves offense.
We shall see if these five players continue to post strong results, or fade out as the summer months take their toll on teams. However, they remain five names to watch, something for fans to follow when their favorite teams aren’t in action or struggle through a lost season. Next time, I’ll try to look at some pitchers who may be going through a surge at 27. It works for them too!
Follow me @Delibirdation if you want to see me get mad at the Angels.