On Chone Figgins and His Player Type

Following is a very basic list of things we know to be true about Chone Figgins:

  • He used to be very successful at baseball
  • Lately he has been far less successful at baseball
  • Tuesday night he was finally dropped by the Mariners
  • Relative to other players, he is little

There’s a lot more to Chone Figgins than that — there’s a lot more to everybody than that — but that’s the skeleton. If you were putting your son to sleep, and you were telling him about various baseball players, and the first one you told him about was Chone Figgins, you’d go into more detail. If you were putting your son to sleep, and you were telling him about various baseball players, and the ninetieth one you told him about was Chone Figgins, you’d skip a lot of the details out of exasperation. Those are the most fundamental details.

This is not a post wherein we reflect on the Chone Figgins era in Seattle. For one thing, nobody should want to do that, and for another, is it necessary? Other people have already done that elsewhere, and we know what happened. Figgins was good, and then he signed with Seattle, and then he was bad, and then he was benched, and then he was designated for assignment. By WAR, 2009 Chone Figgins was more valuable than Adrian Gonzalez. By WAR, 2010 Chone Figgins was less valuable than James Loney. By WAR, 2011-2012 Chone Figgins was less valuable than Wilson Valdez and Hideki Matsui combined.

Chone Figgins will presumably get another job, and perhaps he isn’t completely finished. Perhaps he just needs a change of scenery, the way Jeff Cirillo apparently did, and Figgins certainly wouldn’t have taken the DFA as horrible news. The numbers, though, suggest Figgins is near the end, if not beyond it. And it makes you wonder about shorter baseball players. Or at least, it made Dave Cameron and I wonder about them.

Officially, Chone Figgins is listed at five-foot-eight, or 68 inches. In reality, he’s littler than that, but all we can go on are the oft-inflated official measurements. This is a relatively rare player type. Since 1969, 1,737 players have batted at least 1,000 times in the major leagues. Of those, just 35 were officially less than or equal to 68 inches in height. If you like percentages, that’s two percent that we’re talking about.

So a natural follow-up question: how do shorter players age, relative to other players? Figgins’ decline has been treated as a mystery, something nobody saw coming. Should we have seen this coming, given his body? Do shorter players just break down or eventually get exposed? At this time, I am not capable of generating a solid, awesome aging curve. But with the help of the Baseball-Reference Play Index, I did come up with a workaround. Let’s call it an approximation.

A good proxy for productivity is playing time. Generally, if you’re good, you’ll play, and if you’re bad, you won’t play. That last sentence was analysis. I decided to go in and collect a bunch of numbers spanning from 1961-2012, which B-R refers to as the Expansion Era. Setting an arbitrary minimum of 250 plate appearances, I looked at how many matching player seasons there were for each age between 28 to 39 (also arbitrary). Then I looked at how many matching player seasons there were for each age for players no taller than 70 inches, officially (arbitrary once again). There’s a lot of arbitrariness in here, and official heights are frequently inflated, but let’s just go with this. Let us please just go with this.

Here’s a graph of the results, as expressed by percent of player seasons by shorter players:

We begin, at age 28, with sample sizes of 1,277 and 202. That is, out of 1,277 player seasons with at least 250 plate appearances, 202 were by players no taller than 70 inches. That comes out to 16 percent. The sample sizes dwindle to 77 and 12, respectively, before I quit. By age 34, the sample sizes had been more than cut in half. The line becomes less meaningful as you follow it to the right.

But still, look what we see. At age 28, we’re talking about 16 percent. Come age 35, we’re talking about 18 percent. There’s very little fluctuation, implying that those little guys were sticking around just as often as the bigger guys. Figgins, if you’re curious, is 34. He turns 35 in January. He was absolutely terrible at 33.

We can’t say anything conclusively, of course. This is, first of all, not a direct measure of productivity. Numbers were chosen somewhat arbitrarily, the sample sizes are all somewhat limited, and shorter players are often middle infielders and teams always need middle infielders. But this suggests that we shouldn’t have predicted doom and gloom for Figgins on account of his stature. Which we didn’t. Hell, just take David Eckstein. There haven’t been many littler players than David Eckstein. From 27-29, Eckstein posted a 90 wRC+. From 30-32, Eckstein posted a 97 wRC+. From 33-35, Eckstein posted an 85 wRC+, and in his final season he batted .299 away from Petco Park. There’s evidence of a decline there, but not a dramatic decline, and you always expect a decline in the mid-30s anyway.

What’s true generally isn’t always true specifically. Maybe Chone Figgins, specifically, did decline because he’s pretty short, somehow. We don’t know, and we don’t have reason to think that’s something we should’ve projected when he signed with the Mariners. Figgins seemed safe, and in order to be worth the contract he’d only have to be something in the neighborhood of league-average. Through the first three years of the deal, Figgins has been slightly below replacement-level. Maybe, with a big 2013 somewhere else, he could pull himself back into the black. As it stands, he’s been paid nearly $30 million in exchange for a negative WAR.

Why Chone Figgins got so bad so fast remains something of a mystery. It doesn’t look like this is something we should’ve seen coming. The lesson isn’t that short players age faster or more suddenly than average or tall players. The lesson is you never know when a good player might turn into a bad player. It can happen without any warning. Appreciate your good players. Appreciate them more. They might not be that way for long.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

61 Responses to “On Chone Figgins and His Player Type”

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  1. Jaack says:

    You left a very important fact out about Chone. His mother had a spelling deficiency.

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    • Desmond DeChone Figgins

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    • Larry Bowa says:

      I hate hate hate this racist type of talk about how names have to be spelled a specific way. Get a brain.

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    • Sage S says:

      not funny.

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    • Little Bear Big Eagle Feather says:

      I absolutely agree that the names non-native peoples give their children are annoying.

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      • Antonio bananas says:

        See, this is why Asians are successful. Korean I know named suksoo, goes by max. Black girl I know, family has been in America forever, named janequa. It’s not racist or “culture”. Why would you go by something that’s going to give you a disadvantage? My grandpa’s name is stonewall after the general because in 1930i guess that was. Cool. He’s always gone by Tony. Nothing racist about thinking names that are purposely spelled funky or just plain weird names (that aren’t of African decent, or worse, the apples and stars) are dumb.

        I think there is a U shaped correlation between income/education level and stupid ass names. Really uneducated and poor people and really wealthy people are who you see coming up with ridiculous names.

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      • shaun figgins says:

        covered in the “freakonomics” chapter “what’s in a name?”. very good read. to quote seinfeld, if you name your child “jeeves”, you’ve basically mapped out his life.

        turns out, that’s at least sort of true.

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      • a says:

        Do NOT read freakonomics, unless you need a good laugh.

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  2. Andrew says:

    I remember a post months ago about height and pitching. Can we get height added to the custom extract list of possibilities?

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  3. Nate says:

    I was thinking Scutaro needed some words here, but I just checked, and he’s reportedly 5′ 10″. A veritable Giant! (hah!)

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  4. Justin Smoaked Cheese says:

    My spiteful side was hoping they’d keep him around and make him “earn” his money. Maybe “Chone” can be the new name for a negative WAR player. A player is either better than a replacement player or chode.

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    • Baltar says:

      The guy was a good player for many years whose performance suddenly and inexplicable fell off a cliff for a couple of years.
      Your mean-spirited wisecrack was unjustified to say the least.

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      • chone! says:

        the figgins signing is the perfect embodiment of the cult of the mariners/GMZ circa 2010.

        his signing illustrates the folly in paying a 33 year old to give you league average production. frankly, if you can’t produce a 2WAR player for almost nothing, then your team is likely not going to be very good and overpaying for a career year (especially at that age) isn’t likely to work out.

        the other thing is: we’re consistently told that his type of player gets better with age. ok, but he was at the end of his prime when he signed. he also already has a fully actualized batting eye–is his walk rate really going to continue to improve despite an erosion in contact skills and speed, especially when he had no power skills to begin with?

        finally, he had a terrific defensive year at 3b in 2009. no argument. and the 2010 mariners were going to be about run prevention? ok, again, fine idea. so then the mariners had him play 3rd in 2010, right? no, they had him play, charitably, below average 2b defense despite no evidence that he could produce that defensive value there.

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      • vivaelpujols says:


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  5. PackBob says:

    Measured against geologic time, everything human is nearly instantaneous. Don’t blink.

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  6. walt526 says:

    The other remarkable thing about Figgins is that, at least in his prime, he was athletic enough to be relatively serviceable at a range of positions. Before he came to Seattle, I always thought of him as a poor man’s Tony Phillips.

    In fact, if you just compare their performance before their age 32 seasons, Figgins and Phillips were remarkably similar. The difference is that Phillips had an unexpected (steroid-assisted?) late peak in his age 32-36 seasons whereas Figgins was historically bad in his 33-34 seasons (and pretty mediocre in his age 32 season).

    The Mariners really never leveraged that versatility successfully. In 2010, Figgins played 2B exclusively. In 2011, Figgins played 3B almost exclusively. In 2012, Figgins played LF(!) almost exclusively (with a handful of starts at 3B and CF). Part of it was Figgins was never really good with Seattle and the Angels stopped using him as a “Tony Phillips-type supersub” after 2006, but a good deal of Figgins’ value earlier in his career was his ability to be serviceable at several infield and outfield positions.

    At an apparently old 35, that may no longer be in his skillset (he hasn’t done the supersub thing since he was 28), but if he had the ability to play say multiple positions even at a mediocre, then his marginal value to the roster may be greater than his expected 0.290ish wOBA would otherwise imply.

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    • Jon L. says:

      It seems like Seattle was taking good advantage of his positional flexibility, just across seasons rather than within them. That could be a serious advantage when building a roster, or just when being unsure which player, at which position, will flop, and need a replacement.

      But that flexibility would’ve been a lot more helpful had Figgins not been godawful (by MLB standards).

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    • Ron says:

      Slightly off topic. Tony Phillips played 16 games last year with Edinburg of the North American League.

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    • JKA says:

      As a utility man in Anaheim, Figgins was fairly average in all positions; but in his final year with the Angels, he played 3B almost exclusively and developed into an above-average fielder there. So I was surprised when the first thing Seattle did was move him to 2B and move a fairly replaceable player (think it was Jose Lopez ?) to 3B, immediately weakening two defensive positions…..this was really strange since the M’s were doing the “pitching and defense” mantra at the time.

      Figgy was certainly a flop in Seattle any way you want to look at it, but I often wondered if his decline began the first day his new team told him they weren’t interested in putting him in the best position to succeed after giving him the big bucks…..

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  7. I never imagined I would read a post on Fangraphs….. regarding Chone Figgins…….about how his height might somehow figure into his declined numbers the last couple of years. I’m just not buying that. Even if it figures in somehow, I would bet the percentage of how it really impacts things is extremely small.

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    • walt526 says:

      All other things being equal, it makes sense to me that short players who didn’t hit for power earlier in their careers might not age particularly well. That is, given what we know about player development, it seems plausible that his small stature makes it more difficult for him to develop “new old-player skills” as he ages. First, <5'8" player is less likely to develop power in his 30s if he never developed it in his 20s. Second, it's possibly more difficult for him to increase his walk rate as he ages due to the fact that he would have enjoyed a higher-than-expected walk rate as a young player given his relatively smaller strikezone.

      Accordingly, as he loses his "young-player skills" (e.g., contact, speed) a short, non-power hitter like Figgins is not well-positioned to develop "old-player skills" (e.g., power, batting eye) that otherwise compensate. So the result is a sharp decline once the player is out of his prime.

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    • TheHoustonian says:

      I’m not actually sure you DID read the article, since it says almost exactly what you just said as a counterpoint to it.

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    • algionfriddo says:

      “…how it really impacts things is extremely small.”

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  8. Preston says:

    I have a theory that line-up protection while not real in normal conditions applies at the margins, Like if you were hitting in the line-up with the 27 Yanks you’d be a lot better. Right now it only applies in Seattle who is historically bad offensively and the black hole will drag down the numbers of everyone who plays there. Case in point Adrian Beltre. If Chone Figgins contributes in anyway next year to a big league club then I think that proves it.

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    • Mark says:

      I think that this applies not just for the lineups but individual players. Take a look at Jose Bautista for the past 3 years as an example. This is his BB% in high leverage spots:

      2010 – 13%
      2011 – 34.8%
      2012 – 12.5%

      So who was hitting behind Bautista during this time?

      2010 – Vernon Wells, who had an 847 OPS that year. His OBP wasn’t great, but he hit 30 homers and it prevented Bautista from being walked as often as he could have been. Bautista wasn’t the primary #3 hitter to start the year, but he started 93 games in the 3 spot so for the majority of the year Wells was his protection.

      2011 – Adam Lind spent 119 games batting in the 4 spot, so for the majority of Bautista’s season Lind was the guy behind him. He had a 734 OPS. He did hit 26 home runs, but there wasn’t any question as to who you’d rather face.

      2012 – Edwin Encarnacion and Lind were the primary clean up hitters for the Jays. While Lind was totally ineffective (734 OPS), EE had a monster season that prevented pitchers from going around Bautista. Probably helped that his first month wasn’t what we expected, but that was pretty much a BABIP issue and he’d rebound from May till he got injured in July.

      I’ll agree that in most circumstances protection isn’t important, but as you said, on the margins (be it an incredible lineup/player or a weak one), protection does come into play.

      I’m sure someone will argue that the 2011 season was the best for Bautista and that’s why he had the high walk rate. And while that might be true, he hit for significantly less power in 2011 (357 ISO vs 306), and most of the improvement during 2011 came from the insanely high walk rate. Which is because of how pitchers went around him in high leverage spots.

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      • Infield Fly says:

        2011 Bautista also was playing like Bonds circa 2002 up until the all-star break. If I had of been pitching to him I would’ve been giving him nothing but marginal pitches regardless of who was hitting behind him

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  9. Choo says:

    I was at ST a few years ago to witness 5’10” Erick Aybar and 5’8″ Maicer Izturis towering over Chone Figgins as the three gentlemen stood next to each other. If the listed height for Aybar & Izturis is accurate, Figgins is 5’6″. If not, Figgins is an action figure.

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  10. The Rajah says:

    What does a team have to lose by offering him the minimum? Less than a half-mil isn’t enough to worry about and he may turn into a useful piece. The Chone Figgins of the early 2000’s isn’t coming back, but he can provide positional depth as well as a veteran presence and maybe…just maybe… a player who can help you win a few games.

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    • shthar says:

      Because every game, every at-bat, nay every second you waste time on old guys who are through, is time you take away from finding out if your young guys can play.

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    • Baltar says:

      More likely a non-roster invitee.

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    • blahblahblah says:


      Please, please, please explain that to D.Moore! All the offensive possibilities for 2014/2015 being squandered because of an obsessive need for a full 30+ YO rotation making 30MM while the ML-ready kids stall-out and waste away in the minors…

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  11. Nickname Damur says:

    Hack Wilson was 5-6. Baseball-Ref lists his weight at 190, but he weighed a lot more than that if you can believe contemporary accounts. Lifetime RC+ of 142. Last year of his career (age 34) his RC+ was 108. His only RC+ below 100 was 90 in, I believe, his second year.

    What I’m getting at is this: what about the weight/height correlation with aging for those at or below 5’8″?

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    • Choo says:

      Hack Wilson was built like a bag of fire hydrants during a time when 5’6″ was one inch below average for U.S. males age 20-29. The average height in 1961 was 5’8″. By 2000, it was 5’10”. And the average height of ballplayers outpaced the average height of regular dudes over the past century.

      In other words, 5’8″ is the new 5’5″ and there were plenty of those during Hack’s era. Not so much today.

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    • Choo says:

      I meandered off the path there for a moment. What I set out to say:

      1) I agree, there should be some consideration for lbs/inch, but only in regards to excluding players at the extreme ends of the spectrum.

      2) Jeff, your quick study dates back to 1961, but the average male is 2 inches taller today than he was in 1961. I wonder how much the results would change if we subtracted one inch per quarter century.

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    • Ivan Grushenko says:

      Hack was also an alcoholic. That may not have helped him to age well.

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  12. deadpool says:

    Marcus Giles was only 5’8″, and he pretty much fell off the map at an early age. I personally ascribed that to the idea that he quit caring about baseball after what happened to his family, but it also seems like every skill he had just stopped working. I would posit that short guys are more prone to shifts in the strike zone though, since both Giles and Fighins lost a lot of their “eye” all at once.

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    • Baltar says:

      Sweeping conclusion based on two cherry-picked cases.

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      • deadpool says:

        See, I would call my thought exactly what it is, idle speculation. I wasn’t aware that we had to finish a peer reviewed research paper on any thought we posted on famgraphs.

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      I’m guessing it was more that his huge swing wasn’t sustainable once his bat speed dropped. Or steroids which, again, could have sped his bat speed during his prime.

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  13. Cidron says:

    Some short players arent to bad, statistically. There was one, Eddie Gaedel who reached base every time he came to the plate.. okay, okay, playing with sample sizes :) Anyways, 3ft 7in, walked in his only time up.

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  14. aj says:

    Honestly iI think chone just falls into the pile of second basemen that fall off a cliff in there early 30s. Recently Alomar, and Utley, Roberts Sanchez ect each fell apart and or just totally sucked at baseball in there early 30s suddenly. Not sure why but it seems more positional then size or body type wise.

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    • Ivan Grushenko says:

      Utley was pretty good in 2012.

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    • Shaq says:

      What do you mean “not sure why”? Utley has a chronic and generally-debilitating pair of knee injuries (patella tendonitis and chrondromalacia of the patella). Brian Roberts (steroid usage aside) suffered a herniated disc in his lumbar spine, tore a labrum in his hip, suffered multiple concussions, all since that 2009 extension. Roberto Alomar was 34 when he went to the Mets and started having back problems as well as “vision issues” (may or may not have been related to a blow to the head) when he hit his decline phase (there’s also the alleged HIV issue which could have affected his stamina, but there’s no conclusive public evidence that he actually has HIV).

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  15. Chick McNixon says:

    I’m new here, so I hope this isn’t stupid, but shouldn’t we mention Dustin Pedroia?

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  16. J.B. says:

    In this age of PEDs (yes, it’s still the PED era) I can’t believe nobody has brought up the possibility that Figgy wasn’t entirely legit as his contract with the Angels ran out. He had one of his best years in his final year with the Angels. Then after signing that fat deal with the Mariners, why risk it with more PEDs? Just fade off into the sunset with yer bags o’ cash.

    Not trying to start a witch hunt here, but that’s the most plausible answer I can come up with. Certainly makes more sense to me than his height.

    Watching him play, his bat speed dropped pretty significantly. Look at his GB% and the way it increased, not only by year, but also by month within those last few years. Yeah, that could just be natural aging, but the dramatic drop off suggests to me something else.

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  17. Pitnick says:

    Short people got no reason to live

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  18. blahblahblah says:

    I’m a tad surprised no one else mentioned it…

    2004 – .123 ISO
    2005 – .107 ISO
    2006 – .109 ISO
    2007 – .102 ISO
    2008 – .042 ISO
    2009 – .096 ISO
    2010 – .047 ISO
    2011 – .056 ISO

    Its difficult not to spot it, right?

    Looking at 2004-2007 against 2008-2011, we see a Triple every 55 AB turning into one every 178 AB while a HR every 91 AB turned into one every 245 AB. Doubles stayed about the same, with a slight 24 AB to 26 AB creep, but with such drastic drops in HR and 3B its understandable those balls would give a pretty big boost to a 2B rate (the 2B rate not going up while balls started falling short of the wall actually reinforces the loss of power)

    Prior to the contract, people assumed 2008 was the outlier, ignoring it near completely and expecting production like he posted from 05-07 and in 2009

    In actuality though, 2008 matches his entire time in Seattle unbelievably well when you account for the BAbip difference

    11.90% 15.40% .042 .333 .276 .367 .318 ~ 2008
    09.40% 16.90% .056 .275 .227 .302 .283 ~ ’10-12

    Secondly, we have this
    2004 – 5.1 BsR
    2005 – 8.6 BsR
    2006 – 10.4 BsR
    2007 – 10.1 BsR
    2008 – 6.2 BsR
    2009 – 8.5 BsR
    2010 – 6.8 BsR
    2011 – (-)1.8 BsR
    2012 – 2 BsR

    The sharp decline in Running from 05-07 to 08-10 corresponds well with the decline in Power, and his age 30 season (2008) is the hurdle he could not clear both times.

    If not for a slight rebound and massive BAbip in 2009, we would almost certainly be wondering what happened to Chone starting in 2008, not in 2010.

    The answer to that seems to be normal Aging; with his once-unbelievable Speed and already-limited Power both starting a quick downward trend at the 30YO mark. When you are a player that is completely dependent on BAbip though, quickly losing speed and power will almost always mean also losing your job.

    Instead of a look back at short players, I think the real inquiry should be into Speedy, Light/No-Power, Slap-Hitter types who rely so heavily on BAbip and see how many of them pass the 30YO mark with any kind of continued success. I have a feeling they have a hard time seeing playing time past 30-ish, with even outliers like Willie Wilson being but a shell of themselves past that hurdle. Realistically, is what happened to Figgins any different then what we saw happen to Pods at the 30YO (2006) mark? Billy Hatcher seems to have hit the same wall in 1991 as well. Juan Pierre is trying to defy the wall, but 2008 definitely shows both a power and sharp speed drop. 1994 marked the turning point in Ozzie Guillens limited-success career while Ozzie’s slap-tastic teammate, Lance Johnson, seems to have held off his wall for an extra 2 years; 1996 being his last who-rah. (and those are just the guys quickly off the top of my head, with all of them seeing a similar loss at about the 30YO mark)

    A detailed History of Slap-Hitters post-30 please!

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    • J.B. says:

      I think you will be hard pressed to find many players like Figgy who had a Figgy like decline. I mentioned the possibilty of PEDs, could also be the result of aging while playing at Safeco, for a miserable team with an anemic offense. Who knows, maybe all of the above.

      I’ve had the great fortune of watching this team day in day out (ha ha) and Figgy’s bat slowed down to the point where he became not just a slap hitter, but a weak slap hitter. The low BAbip and high GB% only confirm what I saw with my own eyes: a weak grounder to short, 5-3 put out.

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      • blahblahblah says:

        But I already gave you 6 such players – all of which are Slap-Tastic failures post 30

        Really, the more and more I look, the more and more I realize this is unbelievably common for big-speed guys as they turn 30 (and that even includes greats like Roberto Alomar who starting hitting a similar wall at 30, relative to his HOF-caliper, base-line talent)

        Take, for instance, the (rather spooky) mirror-image career of Delino DeShields though.

        DeShields goes from a 4-5 WAR threat (generally even keeping that rate when seeing playing time vary because of injuries) with an average .329 wOBA and 104 wRC+ from 1990-1998 (Chone was .332 wOBA and 101 wRC+ when playing over the same ages) But then Delino turns 30… At that point he posts a .318 wOBA with 86 wRC+ (Chone was .316 wOBA and 91 wRC+). He does a bounce-back at 31 to the tune of .356 wOBA and 110 wRC+ (as did Chone, to .357 wOBA and 116 wRC+) before falling off this cliff in his age 32-33 seasons
        2001 ~ .314 wOBA, 91 wRC+, 0.5 WAR
        2002 ~ .269 wOBA, 60 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
        That would be DeSheilds final year in the bigs, so we didnt have to suffer through his age 34 season as we just did with Figgins; but you can see the exact same path to a (frightening) tee between the two guys.

        Or I just noticed Chones top comparable on B-Ref happens to be one Bip Roberts. Lining up the two we see this
        .091 ISO, .342 wOBA and 112 wRC+ ~ Bip pre-30
        .074 ISO, .315 wOBA and 85 wRC+ ~ Bip post-30 (retired at 34)
        .107 ISO, .333 wOBA and 102 wRC+ ~ Chone pre-30
        .065 ISO, .305 wOBA and 88 wRC+ ~ Chone post-30 (released at 34)

        So while I know you want the PED conspiracy to pan out, I think you are ignoring the very real fact that this probably should have been easily predictable based off the track-record of low-power, big-speed types after turning 30. It really seems as though they are just a long-shot to make it to 34/35 with any real ability or value (or even job), and that would mean Chone is straight par for the group with no conspiracy theory needed…

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      • kiss my GO NATS says:

        blah// what about tim raines/ He was lowish power and he was productive in his 30s. Worth 6.1 WAR when aged 32!

        I started thinking of speedy guys with low power off the top of my head (that you did not mention) and some fit your pattern and some do not.

        Mookie Wilson had his peak as a player aged 28-32, 34.

        Vince Coleman fits your pattern closely.

        Kenny lofton was a great leadoff hitter into his late 30s. His defense declined lowering his WAR.

        Omar Moreno does not fit pattern. wOBA .283 at age 28, wOba .275 at age 30, .293 at age 34.

        Shawn Dunston was a low power somewhat speedy guy until he hit his late 30s then he gained power (granted that was in th 90s).

        Bump Wills retired at age 30.

        Tony Phillips, well some speed with low power, was mr. walk his entire career. Man he deserves much more respect as a former player.

        Luis Palonia fell off his productive cliff at age 28 (hmm wonder why a latin player got bad at age 28?) but he stuck around and played awful baseball until he was 35. So I will give you him.

        Ok my brain is tapped thinking of lead off hitters from 70s till now that might fit your profile. But, I would say you analysis maybe has some credence, but it is far from clear. Do a paper and post it.

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    • J.B. says:

      *Forgot to mention:

      His apparent decline in 2008, then resurgence (of sorts) in 2009 would only support the PED theory. Like, let me squeeze out one more good year in this here contract year.

      Okay sorry, I said I wasn’t going to turn this into a witch hunt and here I am getting all John Cleese-ish. Here’s to hoping Figgy goes for .375 OBP with 30 SBs for Billy Beane next year.

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  19. Hurtlockertwo says:

    I would love to see an analysis of before and after the big bucks contracts for all
    players. The fact that Figgens is short doesn’t make him unique as a poor return on investment.

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