In a post debating the relative merits of Austin Kearns and Nick Johnson (a debate which presumes that if everyone's healthy that Josh Willingham could either play left with Nick at first or else make the switch to first base and allow Kearns to play in the outfield), we get this:
If you compare the career numbers that both players average across a 162-game season (a purely theoretical idea, in Johnson's star-crossed career), you get some remarkably similar statlines.Let's set aside that Kearns's numbers are inflated by his years playing in the Great American Small Park. Let's ignore that last season Kearns put up a ghastly .217 / .311 / .316 line. Let's set all that aside and get one thing straight...
KEARNS -- .260 AVG / .354 OBP / .435 SLG / 575 AB / 32 2B / 22 HR / 86 RBI / 75 BB / 134 K
JOHNSON -- .269 AVG / .396 OBP / .456 SLG / 529 AB / 36 2B / 21 HR / 81 RBI / 99 BB / 112 K
There is nothing remotely similar about these statlines.
Johnson has Kearns by FORTY-TWO POINTS of on-base percentage. Do you realize how big a difference that is? That's the difference between Hanley Ramirez and Lyle Overbay. It's the difference between Willie Harris in 2008 and Paul Lo Duca or Felipe Lopez. It's almost as big as the difference between Wily Mo Pena and Pete Orr (oh yes, WMP really was that much worse than Pete Orr). That's a huuuuuuuuuuge difference.
Not only that, Nick out-slugs the GASP-inflated Kearns (I know, I said I'd set that aside... sorry) .456 to .435 for a total OPS advantage of .852 (think Nate McLouth's '08) to .789 (think Randy Winn's).
Over the course of 500 at bats, that's a gap of 90.2 runs created to 76.9--a little less than two additional wins for the typical team.
If you gave all 5491 at bats that the Nationals had as a team in 2008 to an entire team of Nick Johnsons and another 5491 at bats to an an entire team of Kearnses, the Nicks out outscore the Kearnses by 146 runs. That's ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX RUNS. That's more than the difference between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Did those two teams look like they had "remarkably similar" offenses to you? And that's not even factoring in that the Nicks would get a couple hundred more at bats because of his superior ability to avoid making outs.
Yeah, remarkably similar like my doodles are remarkably similar to "Starry Night." Like Rick Springfield is remarkably similar to The Boss. Like... like... Like a .354 OBP is to a .396 OBP!!