With Nick Swisher’s new deal with the Indians, let’s take a look at some comps and projections for his career performance.

Nick Swisher / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Swisher / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Here are players who, through their Age 31 season, had a 118 OPS+ (minimum 4000 plate appearances):

Rk Player PA OPS+ AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Roberto Clemente 7031 118 6548 143 841 .310 .348 .455 .803 *9/8745 PIT
2 Carlos Beltran 6520 118 5719 263 987 .281 .357 .496 .853 *8/D97 KCR-TOT-NYM
3 Phil Cavarretta 6459 118 5686 67 777 .293 .370 .413 .783 *3879 CHC
4 Joe Judge 5572 118 4796 40 556 .296 .378 .417 .795 *3/9 WSH
5 Thurman Munson 5486 118 4962 110 662 .292 .347 .413 .760 *2/D9735 NYY
6 Stan Hack 5387 118 4649 43 455 .304 .391 .408 .799 *5/3 CHC
7 Von Hayes 5379 118 4658 139 646 .272 .360 .430 .790 9387/5D CLE-PHI
8 Jesse Barfield 5289 118 4664 239 709 .259 .338 .471 .809 *9/8D7 TOR-TOT-NYY
9 Bill White 5151 118 4645 163 690 .294 .354 .473 .827 *37/89 NYG-SFG-STL
10 Nick Swisher 5013 118 4241 209 673 .256 .361 .467 .828 *9387/D1 OAK-CHW-NYY
11 Kevin McReynolds 5000 118 4519 183 695 .269 .326 .453 .779 *78/9 SDP-NYM
12 Joe Rudi 4959 118 4539 141 654 .273 .318 .436 .754 *73/9D85 KCA-OAK-CAL
13 Curtis Granderson 4799 118 4224 210 591 .262 .341 .492 .834 *8/7D DET-NYY
14 John Stone 4764 118 4281 74 679 .313 .377 .472 .849 798 DET-WSH
15 Nick Markakis 4556 118 4055 117 549 .295 .365 .455 .819 *9/78D3 BAL
16 Elmer Valo 4492 118 3707 43 410 .285 .402 .396 .798 *97/8 PHA
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/23/2012.

This is quite a list. Some guys are greats. Some guys are overrated. Some guys are underrated.

What might the future hold for Swisher? Here’s what the guys on the list above did for the rest of their careers:

Rk Player PA OPS+ From To Age HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Joe Judge 3606 109 1926 1934 32-40 31 478 .300 .378 .424 .802 *3 WSH-TOT-BOS
2 Roberto Clemente 3180 157 1967 1972 32-37 97 464 .334 .384 .521 .905 *9/8 PIT
3 Stan Hack 3121 123 1942 1947 32-37 14 187 .296 .399 .377 .776 *5/3 CHC
4 Carlos Beltran 1829 137 2009 2012 32-35 71 256 .288 .371 .497 .868 *98/D NYM-TOT-STL
5 Elmer Valo 1599 107 1953 1961 32-40 15 191 .275 .388 .379 .767 97/8 PHA-KCA-TOT-BRO-LAD-CLE
6 Bill White 1527 110 1966 1969 32-35 39 180 .256 .341 .394 .735 *3 PHI-STL
7 Phil Cavarretta 1242 118 1949 1955 32-38 28 143 .291 .383 .430 .813 *3/97 CHC-CHW
8 Joe Rudi 1118 84 1979 1982 32-35 38 156 .227 .283 .385 .668 *7/3D9 CAL-BOS-OAK
9 Kevin McReynolds 1039 102 1992 1994 32-34 28 112 .248 .336 .418 .754 *7/9D KCR-NYM
10 Von Hayes 673 73 1991 1992 32-33 4 50 .225 .304 .306 .611 /*987D3 PHI-CAL
11 Thurman Munson 419 95 1979 1979 32-32 3 39 .288 .340 .374 .714 /*2D3 NYY
12 John Stone 244 86 1938 1938 32-32 3 28 .244 .337 .380 .718 /*798 WSH
13 Jesse Barfield 105 22 1992 1992 32-32 2 7 .137 .210 .221 .431 /*9 NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/23/2012.

These guys are ranked by plate appearances. Three folks from the 1st list don’t show up on this one: Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson both just finished their Age 31 seasons, so they have no stats for Age 32 onward. Nick Markasis is actually still younger, and so he shouldn’t really even be on the first list.

There are a few guys on this list–Munson, Stone, and Barfield–who played just one more season despite a solid OPS+ through Age 31. Munson died late in his Age 32 season, while Stone’s performance trailed off and he contracted tuberculosis in that final season. Barfield was just done.

Two guys really stick out–Clemente and Beltran both blossomed at Age 31 and actually hit much better in the second half of their careers. Beltran, of course, benefits from having not finished his career yet–we can expect his OPS+ to trail off.

Looking at these 13 guys, their post-31 career average performance is 1,516 plate appearances with a weighted average OPS+ of, you guessed it, 118.

The good news for the Indians is that they can reasonably expect Swisher to maintain his career OPS+ of 118, which is a decline from his recent years but well within reasonable expectation. The bad news is that if he manages only 1,516 plate appearances, he won’t have played all that much on his new 4-year contract.

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