I enjoy comparing players using similarity scores, the stat invented by Bill James but made more accessible by baseball-reference.com. It can put a player’s career in perspective, particularly when reviewing those most similar by age. A comparison starts with 1000 points. Then, points are subtracted for differences in statistics. Additionally, points are subtracted for different positions – so a player is more likely to have players at the same position on his list (here’s more).
Here is the 2010 Twins lineup and the player with the highest age-equivalent similarity score. The Twins players’ names are linked to a statistical comparison of the top 10 similar players at the same age.
1. Denard Span CF – Most similar through age 25: Homer Summa. Also of note on the list are Ken Griffey Sr. and Lyman Bostock. Summa played for 10 years and ended with a .346 OBP. Hopefully Span will out-perform those numbers in a long career with the Twins.
3. Joe Mauer C – Most similar through age 26: Bill Dickey. The catchers on the rest of the list sort of indicates the two ways things can go from here (I include non-catchers as well because, well, it’s interesting): 2. Yogi Berra, 3. Jason Kendall, 4. Mickey Cochrane, 5. Derek Jeter, 6. Frankie Hayes, 7. Shanty Hogan, 8. Tony Lazzeri, 9. Robinson Cano, 10. Joe Torre.
4. Justin Morneau 1B – Most similar through age 28: Paul Konerko. Ugh, Richie Sexson is on the list as well (number 4). I like the comparison with Hrbek (number 8) and I would be okay if that were to hold up.
So, the lineup most similar to the Twins (based on 2009 numbers) would be Summa, Walker, Dickey, Konerko, Giambi, Bradley, May, Tejada, and Fewster.