Who are these Red Sox pitchers most similar to?

Among the comparable pitchers for Chris Sale at age 27 is Johan Santana.
Among the comparable pitchers for Chris Sale at age 27 is Johan Santana. –Associated Press/Getty Images

COMMENTARY

On Tuesday, we poked around on baseball-reference.com to find the most statistically similar players to 2017 Red Sox batters at their current ages. Not that we didn’t already see Mookie Betts as a Duke Snider clone, of course.

Today, we hit the pitchers and their comps. If you can’t guess which current Sox pitcher is very similar to the talented, relentlessly exasperating Daisuke Matsuzaka, we’ve got the answer, among more satisfying comps, for you here …

RICK PORCELLO

Comps through age 27: Alex Fernandez, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle

That Garland comp would have been absolutely perfect for Porcello – before the Red Sox’ Opening Day starter’s Cy Young-award breakout last year. Garland always struck me as a league-average workhorse, sort of a conventional Tim Wakefield, and his 103 adjusted ERA for his career confirms as much. Porcello is a better pitcher now than Garland ever was, save for the very specific moment of Game 3 of the 2005 ALCS, but Garland pitched 13 years in the big leagues and made $52 million, so it’s not like it was a regrettable life.

CHRIS SALE

Comps through age 27: Cole Hamels, Johan Santana, John Smiley

Smiley, who won 126 games in 12 seasons, is moderate surprise, but he did go 20-8 with a 3.08 ERA for the 1991 Pirates. He wasn’t nearly on Sale’s level as a strikeout pitcher, though. Other interesting names on Sale’s list include Tim Lincecum, Stephen Strasberg, and Sid Fernandez. If you’re wondering about Clayton Kershaw, his top three comps through the same age were Tom Seaver, Pedro Martinez, and Roger Clemens. So, yeah, we should probably resist any further temptation to call Sale the Kershaw of the American League.