Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good Idea Bad Idea-Sammy Sosa Edition

Well, with one half of the HR Derby of 98 looked at, lets look at Smiling Sammy.

Most of you (like the one person who read my McGwire post) probably think that I hate Sosa, because he battled Mac for the HR record.  Well, while I'm not the biggest fan of his, I certainly don't hate him.  I'm more indifferent towards him.  I thought he was a good player, and certainly would be good in a lineup with Mac.  I did think his whole smiling act seemed phony, but thought it was good for the game.  He definitely should NOT have been the MVP of the league in 98, but the writers are dumb when it comes to MVP voting sometimes (Morneau, Mo Vaughn, Anytime a closer has been voted, Maury Wills, etc).  Anyway, here is my schizophrenic view of whether Sosa should or should not be inducted into the HoF.

Good Idea: Sammy, of course, is one of 7 now to have over 600 HR in his career.  He was also one of the most dominant HR hitters of all time from 98-02.  I don't think people realize that he was still pretty good in years before 98, where he was usually a 30-40 HR hitter, and in his younger years was a really good fielder. He carried a 370 career wOBA and a career 123 wRC+, both really good numbers that might indicate how offensive the environment was during the 90s.  And, for a power hitter, he carried a good number of total hits (2400+, Mac wasn't even close to that).  He was a premier player during his era and should be recognized as such.

Bad Idea: Disregarding steroids, Sosa was an OK ball player.  People think Mac was a free swinger, yet his OBP was 50 points higher than Sosa's, and his wOBA was 45 points higher.  That's a huge difference, and those that want to compare the two, you can't.  Sosa struck out more often (23% of the time) than Mac, which I know doesn't mean much, but also walked much much less frequently than Mac did (17% for Mac, 9% for Sosa).  What does that mean?  It means that Sosa was much more of a free swinger than Mac was.  So I don't see the comparison between the two.

Looking at it from a not Big Mac perspective, his 123 wRC+ is good, but for the best HoF RF. it's well below their average of 141.  His wOBA is good, but a typical HoF RF will have one of 399.  His career OPS is 878, which is like Ryan Ludwick's last year, and that's close to the OPS for a HOF RF, but it's inflated due to his high slugging and terrible OBP.  Are you starting to see what I'm getting at here?  He was a good player that played for a long time, and did one thing really well (Hit flat footed HR in Wrigley), but not good enough.  Sorry, he's out.

Verdict: I am kinda shocked at how well he scored, but I guess he does comp well with the guy he tied.  He scored as high as Reggie Jackson, who is someone I think is Sosa's best comparison. Both were free swingers, both really only hit HR and didn't provide much else on offense.  Sosa had a bit more power, Reggie could work counts better.  So, if you disregard steroids with Sammy, and see my point on steroids with Mac in my previous article, and you think Reggie is a HoF hitter, then you'd have to agree with Sosa.

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