To think, the Indians let Omar Vizquel walk because he was too old … in 2004. Snark met the White Sox’s decision to begin using the 43-year-old as the permanent third baseman in June and why would anyone expect otherwise? Vizquel’s glove still showed the ability to be an instrument of heroism, but his bat … well; his lumber played the role of dastardly villain.
Between the 2007-09 seasons, Vizquel raked in more than 1,000 plate appearances and batted .243/.301/.308. Vizquel seemed near the end in performance and chances alike as his games played total slipped from 145 to 92 and finally 62 games last season as Elvis Andrus’ caddy and surrogate grandfather.
Yawns (and some sighs) were prevalent to the audience through May. Vizquel had reached base 16 times in 55 plate appearances with two extra base hits. June brought with it a new wave of playing time for the ageless one as well as a pulse. A .278/.338/.389 line translates to a .329 wOBA, which is actually slightly above average this season. Vizquel blew up in July too, posting a 129 wRC+ thanks to a 1.33 BB/K ratio and a .385 BABIP.
August has resulted in a 98 wRC+ so far, which is closer to reality than either of those months, but this is Omar Vizquel for crying out loud. He posted a 129 wRC+. I know you can’t just add wRC+ seasons together to get an average or anything like that, but for trivial purposes, Vizquel’s 2009 and 2008 wRC+ sum is 117. His career wRC+ is 89. Right now, aged 43, as a full-time third baseman, he has a 93 wRC+.
An inflated BABIP relative to recent seasons suggests this comparative hot streak is unlikely to continue. Still, stories like this make baseball the spectacle it is. A man born within a decade of Alaska and Hawaii becoming states is having one of the finest offensive seasons of his career 21 years after first appearing on the scene. Only in baseball.