Many baseball players believe age is nothing more than just an inconsequential number and then go out and prove it by playing well into their 30s and on some occasions their 40s. Most athletes begin to lose their mobility, speed, and agility as they get older, but some of them actually improve with age, like a fine bottle of wine. This is a list of the current top older MLB players today. All of them are past the age of 35 with 43 being the oldest. In fact, at 43, pitcher Bartolo Colon of the New York Mets is currently the oldest player in the Majors. He’s still not close to pitcher Satchel Paige though, who officially retired in 1965 when he was 59.
These 15 players are still contributing to the game at a high level. Right-handed pitcher Colby Lewis would have made the list if he wasn’t injured as he’s gone 6-1 for the Texas Rangers this year. The 36-year-old Lewis had an ERA of 3.21 in 15 starts until he was sidelined for a couple of months in late June. Hopefully he’ll be back soon to finish off his 12th season. These are the top 15 older MLB players who still have “it.” There must be some type of fountain of youth or something similar in the Dominican Republic as seven of the 15 players hail from the small country while six come from the USA and the other two are from Japan. In addition, six of the 15 players are pitchers.
15. R.A. Dickey (41-Years-Old)
Knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays may be struggling slightly this year with his record of 7-12 and 4.66 ERA, but he’s still helped his team battle for first place in the AL East. The 41-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee went 11-11 last year with a 3.91 ERA and pitched just over 214 innings to help the Jays make the postseason. He’s averaged close to 220 innings in the past five years and won 11 of his final 16 starts in 2016. Dickey pitched well in last year’s playoffs, but wasn’t handled properly by manager John Gibbons. Dickey, a former Cy Young Award winner, may not be as effective as he used to be, but in the right situations he’s still a solid Major League pitcher and could prove to be quite valuable if the Jays happen to make the playoffs again this year.
14. Brandon Phillips (35-Years-Old)
The 35-year-old Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the second round back in 1999 and is still playing some fine second base. He’s never been known as a huge home run hitter with 192 in his career with six of those coming this season (so far). However, he did manage to hit a career high of 30 in 2007 with the Reds. Phillips is enjoying his 15th big-league season and while his numbers have seen better years, Phillips continues to produce. in his own right. His on-base percentage was .305 and he’d chipped in with 37 RBI’s. Philips hit .294 last year with 12 homers, 19 doubles, and 23 stolen bases. He may be slowing down a little on the bases with just five of his career 189 stolen bases coming in 2016. The four-time Gold Glove winner and three-time All-Star from Raleigh, North Carolina is still a complete player who can produce both offensively and defensively.
13. Santiago Casilla (36-Years-Old)
San Francisco Giants’ right-handed pitcher Santiago Casilla of the Dominican Republic is another fine player at the age of 36. He’s averaged an ERA of 2.22 over his six years with San Francisco along with 59 appearances a year. Casilla’s on track for another great campaign in 2016 as he is currently 2-3 with an ERA of 3.18. So far this season Casilla have closed out 24 games in 29 opportunities. Casilla is a consistent pitcher who has a career ERA of just 3.15 with a won-lost record of 38-24 since breaking into the league with the Oakland Athletics in 2004. He’s gone about his job quietly, but effectively in his 13 seasons up to now and is somewhat underrated. His best year was in 2014 when he went 3-3 with an ERA of just 1.70. He followed that up last year with 38 saves and a 2.79 ERA.
12. Alex Rodriguez (41-Years-Old)
Love him or hate him, New York-born Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees can still be a game-changer due to his home run power. Rodriguez had just 210 at bats at the end of July, but still had nine home runs and 29 RBI’s even though his batting average was just .210 wi8th a .259 on-base percentage. The 41-year-old also managed to steal three bases and his underrated speed has now seen him steal 329 of them during his 22-year career. A-Rod, who was drafted first overall by Seattle back in 1993, has some amazing career statistics and his inclusion into the Hall of Fame will be debatable due to his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez should hit his 700th homer this year along with his 2,100th RBI and already has over 3,000 hits and 2,000 runs scored. The former shortstop and now designated hitter hit 33 homers last year in 151 games after sitting out the entire 2014 season due to suspension.
11. Ben Zobrist (35-Years-Old)
The Kansas City Royals won the World Series last year with the help of Ben Zobrist. However, the 35-year-old of Eureka, Illinois has since moved on to the Chicago Cubs for his 11th MLB campaign. Zobrist hit 13 homers last year along with 56 RBI’s in 126 games and already had 13 homers and 53 RBI after 97 games this year. He also had 99 hits so far in 2016 and was batting .280 compared to .276 last year. In addition, Zobrist’s on-base percentage this season currently stands at .387. Zobrist is regarded as one of the league’s most respected players due to his professionalism and the way he approaches the sport. Zobrist is able to handle just about any position on the ball diamond and produces at a consistent level year after year. His speed is also somewhat overrated as he’s stolen 109 bases since being drafted 184th overall by Houston in 2004.
10. Jonathan Papelbon (35-Years-Old)
Thirty-five-year-old right-handed relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon of the Washington Nationals is one of the best closers in the game. He had 24 saves last year with Philadelphia and Washington in 26 save opportunities and posted a sparkling ERA of 2.13. When you compare his numbers for 2016 of 2-4 with an ERA of 4.41 you may think he’s finished. That’s not the case though. Papelbon had 19 saves after 22 opportunities by the end of July and had struck out 30 batters in his 32 innings of work. He’s now in his 12th season and over the past 10 of them he’s averaged 35 saves in 64 appearances with an ERA of 2.33. The native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana may not be posting the best numbers of his career so far in 2016, but he’s still a highly effective pitcher. He’s 41-36 for his career with a fine ERA of 2.44.
9. Adrian Beltre (37-Years-Old)
Third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Dominican Republic is still thrilling Texas Rangers fans even though the 37-year-old is playing in his 17th MLB season. After 99 games this campaign he had 106 hits to go along with 54 runs scored, 16 homers, and 65 RBI. He was batting for a .279 average with an on-base percentage of .337. Beltre should finish the season with better numbers than last year when he batted .287 in 143 games with 18 homers and 83 RBI’s. Beltre needs just over 100 more hits to reach the magical 3,000 mark and he has 429 career homers to his name. He should find himself in Cooperstown when he finally hangs up his bat and glove. He showed his determination and leadership qualities last year by playing in the postseason even though he was suffering from a painful back injury. Beltre was taken out of Game One against Toronto, but made sure he was back in the lineup for Game Four when his team needed him the most.
8. Koji Uehara (41-Years-Old)
Japanese setup pitcher Koji Uehara was 34-years-old when he made his MLB debut in 2009 for the Baltimore Orioles. He’s now in his eighth season and pitching for the Boston Red Sox at the age of 41. The right-hander has averaged an ERA of 2.08 since his rookie year and 54 appearances a season. He may not be at his best this summer so far with an ERA of 4.50 and a 2-3 record in 39 games, but this guy still knows how to pitch. He had six saves in eight opportunities in those contests along with 51 strikeouts in 36 innings. His splitter is among the best in all of baseball and he had 510 strikeouts in 426.2 career innings pitched. The native of Osaka was on the 15-day disabled list and the Red Sox need him back badly if they hope to challenge for the AL East title. He was starting to get hot before the injury and they Red Sox need that to continue when he returns.
7. Nelson Cruz (36-Years-Old)
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz of the Dominican Republic is 36-years-old now, but still one of the best in the league at his position. The Seattle Mariners’ slugger is now in his 12th season and is coming off of an excellent 2015 which saw him drill 44 home runs and 93 RBI. The year before he had 40 homers along with 108 RBI and is another player who seems to be getting better with age. The designated hitter and sometimes centre fielder has also been working hard defensively if he’s ever needed in the outfield. Cruz won the American League’s Silver Slugger Award last year in his first season with the Mariners. After 100 games this year Cruz had 107 hits along with 26 homers, 68 RBI, .285 batting average and an on-base percentage of .370. Cruz is a career .274 hitter.
6. Jose Bautista (35-Years-Old)
He’s not a very big guy, but Jose Bautista has proven over the last few years that he’s a hell of a home run hitter and also has a great eye at the plate. The 35-year-old right fielder from the Dominican Republic helped the Toronto Blue Jays reach the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades last season when he hammered 40 homers and 114 RBI with a .377 on-base percentage. Bautista batted .250 and walked 110 times. In fact, his past six seasons are among the best in league history with his strong home run, double, and OPS numbers during that span. Bautista was the face of the franchise until Josh Donaldson came along to share the spotlight with him. Although he missed a good chunk of this season due to a foot injury, Bautista had 13 homers and 43 RBI in 72 games so far this season. Joey Bats has a cannon for an arm and will hit his 300th career home run this year, his 13th season.
5. John Lackey (37-Years-Old)
Right-handed pitcher John Lackey of the Chicago Cubs is 37 -years-old and in his 14th MLB campaign. After 21 starts this year he was 8-7 with an ERA of 3.69. The Texas native also had 137 strikeouts in his 136.2 innings of work. Lackey was also solid last year when he went 13-10 with a 2.77 ERA in 33 starts. He played in the National League for the first time last year and ended up having the best campaign of his career. He won a World Series with the Angels back in his rookie season in 2002 and his command and velocity is still just as good. Lackey has gone 173-134 in his career with a 3.91 ERA. He’s below his career average this year and looks like he could easily pitch just as effectively for another four or five years if he chooses to do so.
4. Bartolo Colon (43-Years-Old)
What can you say about 43-year-old Bartolo Colon, the oldest player in MLB this season, who’s still with the New York Mets. He’s had an up and down career and looked to be just about finished at the end of 2009 due to a decline in performance and injuries. The right-handed starter from the Dominican Republic missed the entire 2010 campaign and was suspended for 50 games in 2012 due to performance-enhancing drug allegations. He was 18-6 in 2013 and posted three shutouts with Oakland with an ERA of 2.65. He joined the Mets the next year and his ERA was 4.09 and 4.16 in the past two campaigns and he helped the Mets reach the World Series last year. He’s bounced back strongly this season and was 9-6 with a 3.95 ERA after 21 starts and 120 innings pitched. Colon, who’s in his 20th season, is a master at getting the most out of his pitching since he’s an expert at changing speeds and exploiting a batters’ weaknesses.
3. Ichiro Suzuki (42-Years-Old)
Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki made the headlines this summer by breaking the all-time hits record for a pro player, which included his totals from his homeland. In the near future the 42-year-old will reach the 3,000 hit plateau in MLB as he has just two more to go. He joined MLB when he was 27 years old and played with Seattle and the Yankees before joining the Miami Marlins last year. He’s a baseball legend and should be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Ichiro hasn’t played all that much this year, but was hitting .321 after 90 games with nine stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .394. He’s not a power hitter with just 113 MLB home runs to his name, but is a career .314 hitter with a .357 on-base percentage and 507 stolen bases. He’s simply one of the all-time greats and can still produce.
2. Albert Pujols (36-Years-Old)
First baseman Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Angels hails from Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic and he’s still belting out home runs at the age of 36. Pujols had 20 home runs and 81 RBI after 103 games this season to prove he’s still got “it” even though he’s no longer a spring chicken. Pujols is now in his 16th MLB season after breaking into the league with the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2001. Pujols, nicknamed ‘The Machine,” who wasn’t drafted until the 13th round back in 1999, was hitting a respectable .260 this year and had an on-base percentage of .331. He’s also scored close to 50 runs and added 102 hits. Pujols has been a consistent producer throughout his career as he’s slammed 580 home runs and 1,779 RBI up to now with a career .310 average and .394 on-base percentage. If he stays healthy he should have at least another four or five years left in his MLB career.
1.David Ortiz (40-Years-Old)
Big Papi, David Ortiz, of the Dominican Republic has been giving MLB pitchers fits for two decades now. The 40-year-old designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox will likely be another Hall of Famer a few years after he decides he’s had enough (which is apparently this season). Ortiz is one of the game’s greatest sluggers and is still proving it with 111 hits, 25 homers, and 85 RBI after 96 games this year. Ortiz may better last year’s output of 37 homers and 108 RBI. He should reach 100 RBI for the fourth straight season in 2016 despite his age. His on-base percentage is also among the league’s best this year at .406 with .379 to go along for his career. And let’s not forget Ortiz is batting for a .316 average this campaign with 35 doubles and 50 runs scored. The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 86 years until Ortiz came along and he’s helped them win three since. He’s simply a great hitter who hasn’t slowed down one iota with age.
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