The strangest thing about watching baseball your whole life is how quickly you become older than all the players.
Trust me, kids: You might be the same age as some top MLB players right now, but that’s going to be over with before you know it.
It leads to some very strange realizations. At age 30 in the real world, you’re still a youngster trying to figure out your life. But at 30 in baseball, you’re a grizzled vet.
So let’s hear it for those grizzled vets! Here are the best players over age 30 on every team. Don’t let those whippersnappers get you down.
(For the purposes of this exercise, we are including only people who have already turned 30. All ages listed are their 2021 seasonal age, which is their age as of July 1.)
Blue Jays: Hyun Jin Ryu, LHP
Ryu didn’t come to the big leagues until he was 26, and he just turned 34 last month. He has been everything the Jays could have hoped for so far. (Which is to say: healthy.)
Orioles: Freddy Galvis, SS
Anyone who remembers Galvis as the hot upcoming Phillies prospect might have a hard time accepting him as a greybeard, but he is off to the best start of his career in Baltimore. (Also, the Orioles don’t have a lot of old guys.)
Rays: Joey Wendle, INF
As much as we’d love to go with 40-something Rich Hill here, Wendle has actually been the best-hitting Rays player of the early going. He entered Saturday with 10 extra-base hits after having 15 all of last season. And the Rays have needed every one of his hits.
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez, DH
Yeah, we’re thinking J.D. is back.
Yankees: Gerrit Cole, RHP
The biggest worry about Cole’s long-term contract was how old he was already. He’ll actually be 31 in September. He sure doesn’t look like he’s aging right now, though.
Indians: Oliver Pérez, LHP
Thanks in part to all the trades it has made over the past couple of years, Cleveland is one of the youngest teams in baseball. Perez sort of skews the curve all by himself.
Royals: Salvador Perez, C
Take your pick between Perez, Carlos Santana and Whit Merrifield, but the Royals are a team that’s actually sort of built around veterans.
Tigers: Wilson Ramos, C
The veteran receiver has overcome a rough stretch of injuries to be hitting the ball as well as anyone in baseball right now. He entered Saturday with six homers, one more than his 2020 total.
Twins: Nelson Cruz, DH
Yep, it’s still him. It will probably always be him.
White Sox: José Abreu, 1B
The reigning AL MVP isn’t just aging gracefully: He’s seemingly getting better as he goes along.
Angels: Justin Upton, LF
The well-traveled Upton (four homers entering Saturday) will have this spot for only a little bit longer: Mike Trout turns 30 in August. (Gasp.)
A’s: Jed Lowrie, 2B
Lowrie’s resurgence has been an incredible early story for the A’s, but, honestly, everyone in that lineup is hitting right now.
Astros: Zack Greinke, RHP
There are a lot more Astros to choose from here than you might think, but I can’t pass up the future Hall of Famer with a 2.76 ERA.
Mariners: Mitch Haniger, RF
It has been so long since Haniger played a full season that we’d all forgotten just how much he could do. He entered Saturday hitting above .300, so we remember now.
Rangers: Kyle Gibson, RHP
The veteran was signed to be a stabilizing presence in that rotation, and so far, that is exactly what he has been.
Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B
Still, somehow, both terrific and beloved, and key to everything the Braves have tried to do for nearly a decade now.
Marlins: Miguel Rojas, SS
Rojas has found himself a nice little groove in Miami the past couple of years. (If Starling Marte weren’t on the injured list, he might be here instead.)
Mets: Jacob deGrom, RHP
Fun fact: deGrom is the second-oldest player on the Mets’ active roster. (Aaron Loup is the first, but by only a few months.)
Nationals: Max Scherzer, RHP
Of all the players on this list, he’s the one least likely for anyone to dare to call “old.”
Brewers: Brent Suter, LHP
With starting pitcher Brett Anderson landing on the injured list this weekend, we give the nod to Suter, the steady setup reliever who leads the bullpen in innings pitched.
Cardinals: Yadier Molina, C
Forget any of that “legend” stuff: Yadi has been the best hitter on the Cardinals and is almost single-handedly keeping that lineup afloat.
Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Of all the Cubs’ veterans, Rizzo seems like the one they wouldn’t possibly let leave. He’s still the same terrific player he has always been. The one quirk is he hasn’t been hit by a pitch yet, which is usually his secret power.
Pirates: Tyler Anderson, LHP
For good reason, there aren’t many “older” players on the Pirates roster, but Anderson has been one of their better starters, with more than a strikeout per inning.
Reds: Tucker Barnhart, C
Lots of Reds to choose from here, actually, even with Mike Moustakas on the IL. Barnhart is more than pulling his weight, slugging over .600 entering Saturday.
D-backs: Eduardo Escobar, INF
Escobar is back to being one of the D-backs’ best hitters. It’s worth noting the D-backs are older than you probably think they are.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, LHP
For what it’s worth: On any other team, Max Muncy or Justin Turner would be easy picks. (The Dodgers are, uh, stacked.)
Giants: Buster Posey, C
The Giants quietly are one of the older teams in baseball. It’s fitting that Posey, who elected not to play last year, is off to such a roaring start after a year off. We old folks need some rest every once in a while. ICYMI, Evan Longoria is also playing really well. Let’s hear it for the fountain of youth in San Francisco.
Padres: Yu Darvish, RHP
Rather than choose between Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer, both still bashing the ball, I just went with the Cy Young Award candidate.
Rockies: Charlie Blackmon, RF
OK, so he’s off to a slow start, but I don’t think anyone’s too worried about Blackmon. And the Rockies don’t have a ton of other options.