View Full Version : Is Wily Mo the next Sammy?

02-17-2006, 09:39 PM
Seems like I've heard Wily Mo compared to Sosa a lot recently, so I was curious to see whether the comparison was actually valid or if it was just based on their national origins and superficial physical similarity (WMP is actually bigger I think). Here are their stats from Baseball Reference:



Wily Mo:


I'm no sabermetrics guy, and I'd be interested in what that sort of analysis would reveal in this comparison, but to me the numbers look strikingly similar. The two players were about the same age when they broke into the majors--Sammy was 21 when he broke in with the White Sox in 1989, and our boy Mo was 20 when he started, 21 when he actually got significant playing time with the Reds.

Their 21-year old seasons (1989 for Sosa, 2003 for Mo) actually quite resemble one another. As I read it, they were both basically flailing at everything and not hitting much of it. The big difference seems to be that Mo's first 1,000 at-bats have been more exaggerated in two key respects: power and strikeouts. He does more of both! This might be a result of playing in GAB's modest dimensions, or it might be because Sammy was playing in the old White Sox field, which was reputedly a bit cavernous (I actually don't know if this is true). In any case, Mo seems to be both less disciplined and more powerful than Sammy at the same age (these two are also probably related--he swings harder more of the time). I guess from this perspective, WMP has both more upside AND more downside than Sammy.

What really strikes me beyond this is the way that Sammy's OBP and SLG begin to creep up through the first few years, clearly indicating that he has begun to 'figure it all out'. I think looking at his 1993 stats show that he major league pitching was less often fooling him in his fifth season. In any case, he had definitely become a force by the magical age of 26, when he posted career highs in nearly every category.

What should we take from this? Well, I think if this comparison is true (and the stats at least say it is no unfounded), then management should be careful when it considers trading Pena this year. As the first year he gets a full season of at-bats, 2006 may feature some struggles--but I think that by the end of the year we'll probably see something resembling Sosa's fifth year--maybe with a few more strikeouts and a few more homers. And we all know what happened when Sammy hit 30... scary.

My projections for Wily Mo in 2006, if healthy:

35 HR, 105 RBI, 160 SO, .255 BA

Get ready Cincinnati: we could have the best feast-or-famine superstar (and the best trade bait for young AL pitching) since Adam Dunn!

02-17-2006, 10:03 PM

he is the ONLY Wily MO ;)

02-17-2006, 10:05 PM
Unless WMP uses Roids and cork I don't think he is the next Sammy Sosa, I think WMP can be what Sammy wanted to be.

02-17-2006, 10:23 PM
Okay, give me a break, guys. I wasn't implying that WMP will cork his bat or use steroids. Not that I want to turn this into a debate about Sammy either, but let's not make him a scapegoat for the systemic drugs problem that was (and probably still is) major league baseball. You have to admit that if Mo approaches 588 career homers--or even hits 40 per year for awhile as Sammy did before his binge of crazy seasons--he's doing pretty well.

02-17-2006, 10:35 PM
Unless WMP uses Roids and cork I don't think he is the next Sammy Sosa, I think WMP can be what Sammy wanted to be.
I should have used a smiley :evil: to show my sarcasm, but I am not a big Sammy fan or Big Mac fan or a Bonds fan. They got caught cheating and they don't understand why teams and people have turned their backs on them. Everyone kept blaming small ball parks, bad pitching, and juiced balls but it turned out to be juiced players had more to do with it then anything else.

Red Heeler
02-17-2006, 10:36 PM
Wily Mo has more raw power than Sammy even during his "questionalble" years. Pena is also WAAAAAAY faster than Sosa ever dreamed of being. He is also a poorer defender than Sammy ever was (never a Gold Glover by any means).

The problem with comparing anybody to Sosa, though, is the fact that he was a fairly rare guy. History is littered with hackers with phenomenal power who could never "figure it out." Far fewer are the guys who have managed to develop enough plate discipline, pitch recognition, whatever, to become superstars.

Will Wily Mo Pena be one of the ones who figures it out? I really have no idea. He has power matched by less than a handful of Major League players. That, in itself, is valuable. The Reds should not give up that value for a small return. On the other hand, if someone is willing to give up good value with better odds of realizing their talents, Krivsky should be listening closely.

Henry Clay
02-18-2006, 12:47 AM
Unless I'm remembering things incorrectly, Sosa came into the league as a skinny guy with little to average power. I saw either his rookie card or one from the next year, and he looked like a different player (skinny, funny haircut). By 1998, the guy had added muscle, looked very different, and suddenly had great power (and a more modern hairstyle). By contrast, Wily Mo has been thick in his upper body ever since I first saw him. As I recall (don't have any old links or reports -- just recollection), he was a man-child with power when signed by the Yankees in a bidding war in the Dominican Republic. (Can't comment on his hair.)

I also wonder whether Wily Mo will develop plate discipline, but think he has always had raw power. By contrast, Sosa's power/slugging developed over time along with the plate discipline. The question is whether Pena can approach Sosa's plate discipline and walk rate that suddenly appeared in the late 90s and then rapidly disappeared in the past 2 or 3 years. Here's hoping.

02-18-2006, 01:06 AM
Like i said.. Wily Mo is Wily Mo.

Great potentail and a strong work ethic. Cant wait to see this guy improve his game and become a major factor in the reds lineup.

The dudes RAW.. but man is he gonna pack a punch when he learns to be patiant at the plate.

02-18-2006, 03:17 AM
My projections for Wily Mo in 2006, if healthy:

35 HR, 105 RBI, 160 SO, .255 BA

I would take those numbers from Pena this year for sure! The problem is, hit average is low, and he hardly ever walks. With an average that low, his OB% would be around .310. I would like to see those numbers this year, becuase if he is hitting 35 home runs and 105 rbi's, pitchers will give him less to hit, and give him a few more walks hopefully.

02-18-2006, 03:24 AM
If anyone mentions anything about small parks in the same sentance as Wily Mo, he/she has never seen Wily Mo touch a baseball before.

02-18-2006, 08:46 AM
I think a much better comparison, if he reaches his full potential, is Juan Gonzalez.

02-18-2006, 11:47 AM
Here' the comps for WMP's game, I see more Bo Jackson than Juan G or Sammy.

AVERAGE <= .260
OBA < .315
SLG >= .450
WALKS vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria

1 Joe Carter 8422 .259 .306 .464 -312 0.17
2 Dave Kingman 6677 .236 .302 .478 -66 0.23
3 Tony Armas 5164 .252 .287 .453 -229 -.41
4 Tony Batista 4289 .251 .298 .458 -178 -.72
5 Steve Balboni 3120 .229 .293 .451 -33 -.20
6 Ron Kittle 2708 .239 .306 .473 -25 0.29
7 Bo Jackson 2393 .250 .309 .474 -36 0.31
8 Steve Souchock 1227 .255 .307 .457 -63 -.42
9 Justin Morneau 876 .248 .313 .461 1 -.16
10 Wily Mo Pena 830 .248 .303 .477 -30 -.40

James B.
02-18-2006, 11:52 AM
If anyone mentions anything about small parks in the same sentance as Wily Mo, he/she has never seen Wily Mo touch a baseball before.

Great point. When Willy Mo hits a ball hard it does not matter what ballpark he is in. I think that he has a chance to be a great player if he can be more consistent.

02-18-2006, 12:00 PM
I love Wily Mo and have thought he may be the next Sosa before. I just hope the Reds hold on to him long enough to let him reach his massive potential. Even he doesn't turn out to be as great as I hope......he will always be one of my favorite players for smashing that game winner on his own bobblehead day when I was there!

02-18-2006, 12:25 PM
If I am an AL owner, I would tell my GM to obtain Wily Mo. He will be a great DH. I have watched him try to field since he played at Dayton. He has no feel for where the ball is going off the bat. This negates the his speed. I don't believe he will show any great improvement in the field. Even though he is still young, don't forget he has been hacking around in the field as a pro since he was 16.