Comparing Sosa to Cruz

There has been a lot of rumbling among Braves fans about the similarities between Juan Cruz and Jorge Sosa. Both guys are tall, skinny, and Dominican right-handers who have been praised for their potential. The problem is, that’s where the similarity ends. These pitchers are quite different and Braves fans should not expect from Sosa what they got from Juan Cruz. Here is a comparison of both players’ major league stats.

Juan Cruz							
Year	Age	ERA	IP	HR9	BB9	K9	FIP
2001	20	3.22	44.67	0.81	3.43	7.86	3.77
2002	21	3.98	97.33	1.02	5.46	7.49	4.83
2003	22	6.05	61	1.03	4.13	9.59	3.93
2004	23	2.75	72	0.88	3.75	8.75	3.78
Car.	21.5	3.99	68	0.95	4.39	8.35	4.18
Jorge Sosa							
Year	Age	ERA	IP	HR9	BB9	K9	FIP
2002	24	5.53	99.33	1.45	4.89	4.35	5.96
2003	25	4.62	128.67	0.98	4.2	5.04	4.90
2004	26	5.53	99.33	1.54	4.89	8.52	5.16
Car.	25	5.17	109	1.29	4.62	5.88	5.30

Ccmp	16.28%	29.57%	60.29%	35.79%	5.24%	-29.58%	26.71%

The last row compares Sosa’s career average numbers in terms of the percent difference from Juan Cruz. The result: Sosa is 16% older (actually I believe Sosa just turned 28 this week, Baseball Cube and Baseball-Reference differ on his age), with an ERA 30% higher, gives up 36% more home runs, walks 5% more batters, and strikes out 30% fewer batters. On a positive note, Sosa has thrown 60% more innings a year, but he played for the Devil Rays. A good team would never let him pitch so many innings. But, let’s say Cruz and Sosa are comparable. Then, what can we say expect from Sosa in 2005 if he experiences the same improvement under Mazzone that Cruz did?

The Pitcher	HR9	BB9	K9	FIP
Cruz Change	-14.56%	-9.20%	-8.76%	-3.98%
Sosa Change	-0.22	-0.45	-0.75	-0.21
2005 Sosa	1.32	4.44	7.77	4.96

I did not do straight ERA since Sosa’s 2003 ERA was so far out of whack with his FIP. The bottom line is that if Sosa does get better (and I hope he does), it’s not going to be because of something he has in common with Juan Cruz.

2 Responses “Comparing Sosa to Cruz”

  1. Marc Schneider says:

    The issue of how much players can improve on their previous statistics brings me to Andruw Jones. There seems to be a lot of talk about Andruw having a “breakout” year but he has been in the majors over 8 years. My top of the head thought is that guys don’t generally jump up much when they have such a long record. IN other words, it seems to me that Andruw is likely to always be Andruw at this point and the MVP predictions are wishful thinking. Do you agree? I’m curious as to how likely a player is to significantly improve on such a long trend.

  2. JC says:

    it seems to me that Andruw is likely to always be Andruw at this point and the MVP predictions are wishful thinking. Do you agree?

    I agree somewhat, but given Andruw’s age a breakout is still a real possibility. The thing is Andruw was so good for his age that we asssume his constant performance is a trend that will continue. What if AJ had imporoved a little bit each year for the past 5 years to get to where he is now? His trend would look to move higher. I think more people would be expecting him to improve, but I really don’t think his flat trend makes improvement any less likely.