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« Bud Norris' One Pitch | Main | Price's Fastball Priceless »

Giambi's Greybearded Slugging

At age 40, Jason Giambi is still mashing. The pinch-hitter and part-time first baseman has cracked 12 home runs and has a .274 average, .371 on-base percentage and a .660 slugging percentage in 124 plate appearances. The Giambino does get to take cuts at Coors, but his 159 OPS+ shows that he has been a superb hitter, high altitude or not.

Now that his quad injury is healed, Giambi's big bat is making him the subject of some trade rumors. The Denver Post's Troy Renck Tweets that while Giambi isn't looking to leave Colorado, the slugger would like to end up in Philly if he is indeed traded. While he may well not reach the Phillies on waivers (claims are awarded based on reverse order of record), Giambi figures to go in the next few days if he's traded at all: players can be swapped in September, but they can't be added to the postseason roster.

So, what makes Giambi a hot commodity? His ability to pulverize fastballs and sinkers. While the sample size isn't huge, he's ripping those offerings unless the pitcher goes up and in:

Giambi's in-play slugging percentage vs. fastballs and sinkers

Five of Giambi's homers have come on fastballs, and three on sinkers. His combined slugging percentage against fastballs and sinkers is .833, highest among MLB hitters seeing at least 300 of those pitches.

Giambi is just the fifth hitter in his forties in MLB history to rock an OPS+ of 150 or higher while getting at least 100 plate appearances, according to Baseball- Reference. To be sure, Giambi's feat isn't as impressive as those of Ted Williams, Barry Bonds (who did it twice), Willie Mays and Carlton Fisk -- those guys averaged nearly 440 plate appearances each during their silver-haired slugging seasons. But even so, it's rare to find a greybeard like Giambi who can still go deep.

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