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Mets OF Albert Almora Jr. has had a similar career to three familiar names

Mar 3, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (4) throws the baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2021; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Mets center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (4) throws the baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Whenever I find myself falling into rabbit holes on Baseball-Reference, I almost always end up look at their Similarity Scores on the bottom of each player’s page. There, you can find similar batters based on career numbers and at a certain age. Having the interest to write something about Albert Almora Jr., I found him to have something in common with three other names New York Mets fans may remember.

Through age 24, Almora Jr.’s career was best matched with Bobby Bonilla. He can only hope the same is true for the paychecks and hours working.

At age 25, Almora Jr.’s most similar player is Derek Bell—a member of the 2000 Mets team. And at 26, this very moment, his similarity score matches Lastings Milledge.

Albert Almora Jr. won’t have a Mets career like any of those three

It’s a potpourri of ex-Mets on this list. If you told me to guess which players his career has most resembled at those three ages, I don’t think I would get them correct even if you gave me a thousand guesses. Almora Jr. is an entirely different player than those three—or so we are made to believe.

Similarity Scores comes from Bill James in the 1980s. Baseball-Reference has a thorough description of how they’re calculated. Definitely not an exact science, they are usually pretty easy to understand.

Not so much in this case. I’m fascinated by how “off” this one feels.

A few important things to note are how the careers of those three went. Milledge played his final MLB season at age 26. The two do share some similar career statistics. Bell, at 25, was still trying to find himself. He was playing as a regular for only his second season.

Bonilla might be the biggest shock of all because he was an All-Star early on in his career. I do think there is a big difference. Bonilla had yet to get enough games under his belt when he was 24. He was a sophomore who was finally beginning to show some pop.

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Almora Jr., an entirely different player as we now know, probably isn’t about to blossom into some slugging star. With any luck, he has a long career with a few seasons on the Mets doing more than just supplying them with defense.

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