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Unlikely Similarities: Rice, Canseco and ... Nomar?

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Similarity Scores Redone Using WAR Values

Baseball Reference has a section where it using a Bill James formula to look for players that similar to a player called Similarity Scores.  It works well for offense stats, but doesn't take into account defensive stats.  I decided to use the WAR values from Baseball Projection to find find players with similar scores.  Using a version of RMSE on each individual component values, I took the difference of each value, squared the differences and then summed these squared differences together.

I ran the numbers for a few position players (here's where I looked at a few Royals). Aside from the the 10 most similar players, I added a few others, including: Edmonds, Piazza, and Whitaker.

Jim Rice


Name Birth Year Difference Total WAR

Rice Jim 1953 0 42
1 Cepeda Orlando 1937 134 47
2 Canseco Jose 1964 157 42
3 Downing Brian 1950 159 49
4 Sisler George 1893 167 50
5 Perez Tony 1942 170 51
6 Powell Boog 1941 180 40
7 Slaughter Enos 1916 182 54
8 Wheat Zack 1888 186 58
9 Ryan Jimmy 1863 187 45
10 Ordonez Magglio 1974 187 35
11 Mattingly Don 1961 189 40
12 Garvey Steve 1948 190 36
13 Colavito Rocky 1933 196 46
14 Hrbek Kent 1960 201 35
16 Cooper Cecil 1949 202 35

Jim Edmonds

Ranking Name Birth Year Difference Total WAR

Edmonds Jim 1970 0 67
1 Childs Cupid 1867 171 47
2 Baker Frank 1886 175 64
3 Smith Reggie 1945 187 63
4 Medwick Joe 1911 200 56
5 Beckley Jake 1867 207 62
6 Cash Norm 1934 221 53
7 Minoso Minnie 1925 228 53
8 Abreu Bobby 1974 229 57
9 Averill Earl 1902 230 45
10 Hines Paul 1855 231 42
12 Walker Larry 1966 240 67
15 Kent Jeff 1968 243 59
23 Lynn Fred 1952 257 47
26 Colavito Rocky 1933 264 46

Mike Piazza


Name Birth Year Difference Total WAR

Piazza Mike 1968 0 59
1 Johnson Bob 1905 204 53
2 Guerrero Vladimir 1975 233 57
3 Thompson Sam 1860 234 47
4 Belle Albert 1966 234 37
5 Berkman Lance 1976 235 45
6 Tiernan Mike 1867 237 46
7 Kelley Joe 1871 238 56
8 O'Rourke Jim 1850 242 54
9 Alou Moises 1966 246 38
10 Kiner Ralph 1922 251 46
11 Jackson Joe 1889 253 63
12 Clark Jack 1955 255 55
14 Helton Todd 1973 260 58
16 Delgado Carlos 1972 273 44
17 Clark Will 1964 274 58

Lou Whitaker


Name Birth Year Difference Total WAR

Whitaker Lou 1957 0 70
1 Ashburn Richie 1927 159 58
2 Bando Sal 1944 173 61
3 Sandberg Ryne 1959 182 62
4 Frisch Frankie 1898 188 75
5 Boyer Ken 1931 193 58
6 Randolph Willie 1954 200 61
7 Grich Bobby 1949 203 68
8 Herman Billy 1909 213 56
9 Alomar Roberto 1968 221 64
10 Trammell Alan 1958 224 67
13 Phillips Tony 1959 229 48
14 Beltran Carlos 1977 230 55
17 Santo Ron 1940 238 66
21 Evans Darrell 1947 244 57

Nomar Garciaparra


Name Birth Year Difference Total WAR

Garciaparra Nomar 1973 0 43
1 Groh Heinie 1889 60 46
2 Sutton Ezra 1850 109 38
3 Lankford Ray 1967 114 38
4 Bresnahan Roger 1879 117 42
5 Nash Billy 1865 121 36
6 Doerr Bobby 1918 125 48
7 Clift Harlond 1912 125 35
8 Stephens Vern 1920 127 44
9 Schang Wally 1889 128 44
10 McGann Dan 1871 134 36
11 Glaus Troy 1976 136 34
15 Campanella Roy 1921 142 36
26 Beltran Carlos 1977 159 55
27 Mora Melvin 1972 163 27
29 Caminiti Ken 1963 163 33

 

How do these compare with your expectations?