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View Full Version : DEBATE! Sosa vs. Thomas


MHOUSE
05-08-2003, 09:30 AM
My friend (Flub fan) and I were having an arguement over whether Thomas or Sosa were better over their careers. I'm sure it's been posted here before at some point and as Sox fans we all like Thomas and hate Sosa for the most part. But try to be objective and somewhat neutral and throughout their career which of these guys has been better?

Sammy leads in RBIs by a little bit and homers by a little over 100 . Thomas has half as many strikeouts and twice as many walks. His BA is .034 higher and his OBP is .082 higher. Thomas seems to have put up good numbers from 91-00 for the most part. Sammy was good from 90-94, better 95-97, and then HUGE from 98-01. They're positives and negatives to both sets of stats and both players as people, but overall who does everyone feel is better and WHY?

Thomas' stats (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?statsId=4527)

Shammee's stats (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?statsId=4344)

LuvSox
05-08-2003, 09:35 AM
Why are you hanging around with a Cubbie fan? They will lead you down a path of moral bankruptcy. Frank is better just because he doesn't wear that retarded C on his hat. :D:

TheBigHurt
05-08-2003, 09:38 AM
Originally posted by LuvSox
Why are you hanging around with a Cubbie fan? They will lead you down a path of moral bankruptcy. Frank is better just because he doesn't wear that retarded C on his hat. :D:

ILL admit it, I am just as bad hanging out with these dam Yankmees fans.....NOW the Metroplotians fans I could take BE GOOD

LuvSox
05-08-2003, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by TheBigHurt
ILL admit it, I am just as bad hanging out with these dam Yankmees fans.....NOW the Metroplotians fans I could take BE GOOD

Yankme fans are everywhere though, bandwagoneers mostly.

Dadawg_77
05-08-2003, 09:56 AM
Sosa Career OPS+ (which is Park adjusted) is 133
Frank's 163

RBIs are not really a true measure on how good a hitter someone is. Since they are totally team dependent.

Sosa has only 2 years with OBP over .400, Thomas 10. The other three years.

Sosa in 7890 PA has created 5408 outs, while Frank in 7505 PA has created 4459 outs. Outs = (AB - H + CS + GIDP + SH + SF)

Frank has created 1494 runs, Sosa 1330. Since approximately 10 runs equals a win, you could argue Frank has added over 100 more wins for his team. RC - Runs Created A runs estimator created by Bill James. A runs estimator attempts to quantify the entire contribution of a player's statistics to a team's total runs scored. It typically involves some positive value for things like hits, walks, steals, home runs, etc. and negative values for outs, caught stealing and GIDP. There are 24 different versions of RC depending on the stats you have and I am using the most basic here. (H + BB) * (TB)/ (PA)

Also Sos took off that the age of 29. This is very late for some to bloom as a hitter, so might indicate something besides natural ability help out Sosa. His walks did double so he may have become more patient at the plate or pitcher feared him more thus pitched around him more often.

jortafan
05-08-2003, 10:12 AM
This question is easy.

Frank is the better overall ballplayer, and the better overall hitter. That does not take away from the fact that Sammy at his late-1990s peak had a couple of seasons that were not huge, they were historic -- unlike anything we'll see in the near future.

The bottom line is that they both probably warrant Hall of Fame status (yeah, Sammy getting to 500 home runs even sways me). The only people who will disagree are the Cubbie geeks who believe that by acknowledging Frank, it somehow detracts from Sammy's status.

It also shows that one player alone, no matter how talented, can't win a pennant. Our Sox have only managed a couple of division titles during Frank's time in Chicago, while the Cubs have had some of their worst teams ever with Sammy in right field.

xil357
05-08-2003, 10:18 AM
There is no doubt that based on sheer power numbers, Sammy has been produced over the past five seasons. There also is no doubt that Thomas has been a disappointment for the past five seasons (with the exception of 2000), even considering his injuries.

However, I do believe that Sammy is overrated and gets a free pass from the media and the vast majority of the public.

First, there is the steroid question that has been explored ad infinitum. I believe it has been reported that his head size has grown since his White Sox days? I understand that people can bulk up their arms, legs, abs, etc. through weight training and without steroids, but your head?

Also, consider the park in which he plays. Sure, he has hit lots of homers onto Waveland Avenue. But how many has he hit either into the first few rows of the bleachers, or into the chain-link basket? While Wrigley is deep down the lines and average to center, consider how the wall actually moves in as you move towards the power alleys from the foul lines. Wrigley has some of the shortest power alley distances in the majors, and many Sammy homers -- and other hitters' homers -- are hit into the first few rows or the baskets in the power alleys. Also, note the small amount of foul territory in Wrigley Field, making pop fouls much less frequent. This is definitely a power hitter-friendly stadium. The wind, when it blows out, blows out hard, which is why there are so many multi-homer games at Wrigley. Also consider that day games naturally have hotter average temperatures than night games, and hot air rises (resulting in lower air pressure as well), making fly balls more likely to leave the park. I am not saying that Sammy would not hit homers if he played somewhere else, but his stats are padded by the conditions at Wrigley.

Next, Sammy has been feasting on inferior National League pitching. I recognize that the average ERA is lower in the NL than the AL, but AL pitchers have to face DHs while NL pitchers face other pitchers. That is a huge difference. No wonder pitchers like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Mike Hampton, etc. prefer to stay in the National League. (These particular pitchers still would be dominant in the AL, but the record shows that good NL pitchers who move to the AL tend to become average and average NL pitchers who switch tend to struggle, while average AL pitchers tend to succeed in the NL). When given the choice between facing someone like Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas or Rafael Palmeiro versus fellow pitchers each time through the lineup, the choice is clear. When you have a pitcher on deck, you can intentionally walk the number 8 hitter to set up a double play situation. AL pitchers are much tougher and have to have better stuff to succeed.

Also, just what has been the Cubs' record since Sammy arrived? Just about the same it was during the 70s and 80s. His "me-first" attitude of swinging for the fences has not at all helped the Cubs erase their decades of futility. Their only post-season appearance was as Wild Card appearance in 98.

Now, the Sox haven't exactly had great success in the playoffs, and have been a disappointment in the sheer number of times they have even reached the playoffs. (In 1990 I made a bet that the Sox would win two Worlds' Series by 1994. Whoops!) However, the Sox have had a winning record since Frank's arrival in 1990. Granted, much of that came in the early 90s. However, consider that the 90s were, record-wise, much better for the Sox than previous decades for the team.

Frank is not without his problems. He has been a negative influence in the clubhouse, he whines, he broods and he has underachieved since 1998 (again, with the exception of 2000 and considering the injuries). However, he has produced his numbers without using steroids and in a much tougher park for hitters.

That being said, I still think that trading Sammy straight up for George Bell, with the benefit of hindsight, was a mistake. In 1993, however, I thought it would bring a the Sox a Worlds' Series win and I understand the logic of the trade at the time. Too bad we couldn't have gotten more for him.

Lastly, consider this. If Sammy stayed with the Sox, he'd probably strike out just as frequently, average 45 homers per year and hit a strong cleanup. He'd be considered a selfish clubhouse cancer by Sox fans and the media alike. The Sox would be dogged by media allegations of steroid abuse and would not have Maggs patrolling right field. If Frank Thomas played for the Cubs, he would hit 50+ homers per year, get 150 RBI, hit .330 and take his walks. He'd be a media darling for Mariotti and the Tribune and we'd really be sorry.

Even though he is on the decline, give me Frank over Sammy.

gosox41
05-08-2003, 10:23 AM
[i]

Also Sos took off that the age of 29. This is very late for some to bloom as a hitter, so might indicate something besides natural ability help out Sosa. His walks did double so he may have become more patient at the plate or pitcher feared him more thus pitched around him more often. [/B]

Or he could have started taking the juice.

Bob

jortafan
05-08-2003, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by xil357
Lastly, consider this. If Sammy stayed with the Sox, he'd probably strike out just as frequently, average 45 homers per year and hit a strong cleanup. He'd be considered a selfish clubhouse cancer by Sox fans and the media alike. The Sox would be dogged by media allegations of steroid abuse and would not have Maggs patrolling right field.

If Sammy had stayed with the Sox, he NEVER would have developed as a hitter, and probably would have been released by '94. Maybe he would have hooked on elsewhere. More likely, he would have wound up back in the Dominican Republic, perhaps working at George Bell's gas station.Of course, Sammy is on record as saying the White Sox were to blame for his inability to develop because they tried to teach him discipline as a hitter. That Walt Hriniak is just all wrong for Sammy's flailing style of hitting. He'd be long forgotten in Chicago. You bring it up yourself that playing in Wrigley Field on Cubs teams so bad they can tolerate his selfish play is largely responsible for his bloated numbers. But those numbers will still be recognized by stat geeks.

RKMeibalane
05-08-2003, 11:59 AM
While we're on the subject of Sosa, has anyone noticed that his power numbers have declined since last season? It is still early in 2003, but Sammy does not appear to be hitting the ball as well as he has in years past. I wonder what the problem is.

As for the debate, I think I would rather have Frank Thomas. Sosa has been more productive over the past five seasons, but even though Frank has struggled, he still manages to be a force at the plate. His batting average is not at the level that most would expect it to be, but his power numbers are still solid, and he remains a patient hitter, in spite of the Sox problems on offense. I always admire players who are willing to take walks, as opposed to those who swing for the fences every time up.

Sosa may hit more homeruns, but Frank is the better all around hitter.

Jjav829
05-08-2003, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by RKMeibalane
While we're on the subject of Sosa, has anyone noticed that his power numbers have declined since last season? It is still early in 2003, but Sammy does not appear to be hitting the ball as well as he has in years past. I wonder what the problem is.

As for the debate, I think I would rather have Frank Thomas. Sosa has been more productive over the past five seasons, but even though Frank has struggled, he still manages to be a force at the plate. His batting average is not at the level that most would expect it to be, but his power numbers are still solid, and he remains a patient hitter, in spite of the Sox problems on offense. I always admire players who are willing to take walks, as opposed to those who swing for the fences every time up.

Sosa may hit more homeruns, but Frank is the better all around hitter.

FYI, Sosa has one more walk than Frank this year.

Over their careers, I'd sooner have Frank. Right now, no question, if I was picking the one that was going to help my team more, it's Sosa.

MHOUSE
05-08-2003, 01:19 PM
Looking at the stats I noticed Frank starting producing immediately in his second year of play until the recent years. Sammy was average at best until the late 90s and then those historic 3-4 years. That says juice to me.

Nellie_Fox
05-08-2003, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by xil357
I believe it has been reported that his head size has grown since his White Sox days? I understand that people can bulk up their arms, legs, abs, etc. through weight training and without steroids, but your head? I had never heard this one. The only thing that I know of that is reported to make your head grow after adulthood is Human Growth Hormone (HGH.) It was being abused by body builders some time back (may still be for all I know) and it was giving some of those guys foreheads that looked like the front bumper on a '53 Buick.

34 Inch Stick
05-08-2003, 01:52 PM
You mean a fivehead.

I don't doubt Sammy was taking something beyond Flintstones the last few years. If you look at him this year, with testing for steroids over his head, he reduced his weight and mass considerably in just a few months. At the same time many players were taking the same supplements and not hitting home runs the way Sammy did.