My favorite tool over at baseball-reference is where you can look up any player and see who he is most similiar to statistics-wise based on his age. Sometimes it gives you a better glimpse as to where a guy is heading, what kind of company he is keeping.
So let's look at our current roster and see what we go, and maybe it will give us a better glimpse into the future.
1B: Scott Hatteberg / Jeff Conine (Platoon)
Hatteberg quickly became my favorite player this season. There is no doubt in my mind he gives you the best opportunity of knocking in a run if a man is in scoring position. He works the count and connects solidly when he does decide to pull the trigger. He has some surprising pop for a guy of his size, or maybe that is the ballpark factor (though I never recall Casey getting a benefit from GABP).
Anyhow Hattberg is most similiar to Rance Mullnicks (946). That number in parenthesis is the similarity rating and I believe 1000 is max. Mullinicks was a third baseman who also did some DH'ing and he platooned as a left handed hitter versus righties only. His carreer .ba versus righties was .276 while he only hit an anemic .230 in 270 plate appearances against southpaws. His other righty stats include OBP of .358 and SLG of .412.
Jeff Conine is most similiar to Bob Watson (929), Wally Joyner (915), Our own Gus Bell (914) and most similiar thru age 40 to Hal McRae (894). Those are some big names.
At 2B we have the dynamo Brandon Phillips who recently voiced a bit of displeasure about the attention Hamilton has been getting. I can understand that, a year ago it was Phillips who wore out his welcome at he previous employer and came to the Reds with a new attitude knowing it was probably his only chance to start in the big leagues. It was quite a story but didn't get nearly the media focus as the Josh Hamilton one. Brandon, I guess if you smoke crack for 5 years instead of play baseball you are more of a longshot to stage a comeback. What can I tell ya? At this point I still feel more secure in your presence, as I think you are a solid bet to stay good and pure for the rest of your career. You never really were a bad boy they just said you were sort of unmanageable. Which translates to me that you were swinging for the fences when they wanted you to be a contact hitter.
Brandon you are most similiar to Larry Brown (982) and our very own Eddie Taubensee also (982). Vance Wilson is (981) and Johnny Edwards is (980). Of course you had a clunker of a season in Cleveland that is still hurting your career totals. I expect you to be in stronger company by the end of this year. But Taubensee was a pretty good hitting catcher I remember that much.
Well what are the odds? Our SS Alex Gonzalez is also being compared to former Reds catchers. In this case it is Joe Oilver (952) and Bo Diaz (950). Heck he is also similiar to former catchers Rich Gedman (950) and Benito Santiago (943). Yowza, AGON are you sure you are playing in the right spot? Just joshing….
3B is young Edwin Encarnacion. He's only had a couple cups of coffee so far but what do the stars hold for him in the distant future? Hold on to your hats folks because we may have the next Chipper Jones (974) or even Jim Thome (975)! Wow, who would a thunk it? Now you get off the kid's case for chrissakes, he's already in elite company. Actually his strongest comparison was Jim Presley (977) but that is not nearly as an exciting name as the other two.
Now batting, #44 ADAM DUNN! “Motorin', what's your price for flight? Finding mr. right…. ”
Darryl Strawberry (960), Pete Incaviglia (945), Reggie Jackson (948). Not too shabby.
I regret to say we don't have enough data to do Josh Hamilton so lets consider the CF Ryan Freel. Quinton McKracken (950)! Whoa, no wonder they brought that dude on board last year. BUt you know what, Freel is a throwback player… we always knew it and this proves it. He compares to Wattie Holm (950) who played from 1924-1932, Ed Lennox (943) who played from 1906-1915 and Eric Tipton who played from 1939-1945. None of those guys played very long. Makes you wonder about Freel's 10 or 11 concussions. But yea I always knew Freelie played in the Deadball era. And he spits the chew like an throwback too.
Now the hall-of-famer Ken Griffey Jr. Sammy Sosa (902)? Frank Robinson (886) and Willie Mays (878). barry Bonds (869). I think what happened is Griff didn't get enough steals to earn a higher comparison, as all those guys had better wheels than Junior in their prime.
Now the cathing tandem.
David Ross = Johnny Blanchard (965). Super sub Johnny B was the best pitch hitter in baseball in the late 50s and early 60s. He once hit 4 homers in 4 at bats and his solo shot in the 1961 WS set up Maris's game winner in extra innings that lead the way for the Yanks 5 game WS win.
Javier Valentin = Brian Johnson (981), Bob Schmidt (979), and Mark Salas (976).
Harang = Bronson Arroyo (984), Mike Sirotka (973), and Jimmy Jones (971).
Arroyo = harang (984), Mike Krukow (975), Brett Tomko (975), Kris Benson (975).
Lohse = Rodrigo Lopez (976), Ricky Bones (969), Jose Lima (969).
Weathers = Julian Tavarez (940), our own Ted Power (928), Miguel Batista (923).
Stanton = Dan Plesac (942), Bob McClure (920), Paul Assenmacher (918).
Coffey = Pep Harris (985), Paul Wagner (984), and Johnny Ruffin (983).
So there ya have it… maybe it means something and maybe it don't… but its still kinda fun.