Is Wily Mo Pena going to be the next Sammy Sosa?
That’s the buzz about our amazingly strong and talented Wily Mo Pena…at least that’s the comparison that’ s made.
I also think it’s unfair to Wily Mo to make that comparison.
While I think Pena can be a star, to compare him to Sosa..well, let’s look at similarity scores from baseball-reference.com.
Sosa has no one scoring 900 or higher on Similarity scores, 900 being the level (according to Bill James) of being truly similar. Interestingly, the most similar player for his career is none other than Ken Griffey, Jr, with a similarity score of 875. Coming up next are Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Eddie Mathews, Duke Snider, Jose Canseco, and Gary Sheffield.
So, following Griffey (a sure HOFer) are seven inducted HOFers, outfielders and corner infielders included. Not bad company.
For early Sosa: age 21–Jack Clark; age 22-Lloyd Moseby; age 23–Chili Davis; age 24–Curt Blefary; age 25–Jimmy Wynn
Not a bad group either. These scores were all above 950, too…extremely similar info.
Now, for Wily Mo…
So far, the most similar are Reds pinch hitter Bob Thurman (score of 969), Laynce Nix (962), Mike Diaz (951), Mike Simms (945), and Adam Piatt (944). Former Red Jon Nunally is 8th at 940. Another former Red (from the 40’s), Eddie Lukon is 7th.
This isn’t vary promising….but, Pena is young….so…
As for similar players through age 22: Pete Incaviglia (966), Willie Horton (960), Reggie Jackson (953), Willie Mays (952) and Ruppert Jones (949).
This looks much better; 2 Hofers, and Horton is just on the outside. Also, in the top ten are Barry Bonds and Dave Winfield.
That’s much better.
Sosa’s most similar through age 22: Moseby (970), Bob Coluccio (964), Ron Swoboda (962), Pat Seerey (960), Curt Flood (958), Nelson Matthews (955), Jose Cardenal 954), Rick Monday (942), Corey Patterson (941), Sixto Lezcano (941).
That may be even more promising…..Sosa’s breakout year happened at age 25….we’ve actually got a head start…