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Thursday, August 10, 2006

 

The Juice Is Loose

If you could be financially secure for the rest of your life or if your career was declining, would you do steroids? I bet these guys did. For most of them, it just took one year to get their super-salaries kick started. The five most likely to have been juiced:

5. Brian Giles- Was recently moved to second in the Padres lineup. He's batting .273 with 8 HR and 59 RBI, which projects to .273, 12 HR, 86 RBI. But look at what he did from '99-'02.

'99-'02 Averages: .310 BA, 37 HR, 109 RBI
'03-'05 Averages: .294 BA, 18 HR, 88 RBI (over 50% HR decrease)

During his contract year in 2000, he had a career high in RBI with 123 and average at .315. His raise? Over $6 million per year. He also made his first All-Star team that year and since the '99-'02 stretch, he needs twice as many at-bats to hit each HR.

4. Melvin Mora- A career .281 hitter, Mora broke out in '04 like he has never done before. He didn't even make the majors until he was 27, and his other years suggest that it's because he really wasn't that good.

In '04: .340 BA, 27 HR, 104 RBI, 1 HR/20 AB
Career: .281 BA, 1 HR/36 AB

After batting 60 points over his career average, Mora has never hit higher than .317 (in '03) and other than that, his highest BA is .284 (for a full season). After the '04 outbreak, his salary increased by 50%.

3. Moises Alou- In 2004 at age 38, hit more HR (39) than ever before. His teammate was another late 30's slugger- Barry Bonds. Over his previous 8 full seasons, he had averaged just 24 homers.

'02-'03 Averages: .278 BA, 19 HR, 76 RBI
'04 Season Totals: .293, 39 HR, 106 RBI

2. Adrian Beltre- I would guess Seattle fans are fuming. In his contract year in '04, Beltre was phenomenal for the Dodgers. The rest of his career, however, has been sub-par.

'04 Season: .334 BA, 48 HR, 121 RBI
Career Avg: .263, 18 HR, 78 RBI

Let me do the math for you. 71 points higher batting, 167% HR increase, 55% RBI increase. He signed a new contract after the season that raised his salary from $5 million to $11.4 million per year.

1. Luis Gonzalez- Are Yankee fans aware that Gonzo being on a cycle could have lost them a World Series? In 2001, he had more that a career year, he had a freakish year. If he wasn't juicing, would his winning hit in the World Series have cleared the infield?

Career highs: 31 HR, 114 RBI
'01 Stats: 57 HR, 142 RBI

He also batter 40 points higher than his career average this year. I'm suspicious.


Not So Honorable Mentions
Gabe Kapler- From '99-'01 hit 16 HR per year, has hit 15 total since then.
Brady Anderson- Would be on the list if he still played, but hit 50 HR and had 110 RBI in '96 out of the leadoff spot. 25 more HR and 30 more RBI than ever before. Plus a career high in batting.
Eric Gagne- After posting a 4.95 ERA the previous 2 seasons, he had a 1.79 ERA the next 3 seasons. He also set the all-time consecutive saves record. His bulky body and recent string of injuries support this also.


Comments:
Umm . . . didn't Giles change ballparks right around that time ? Going from Fullerton County to the gigantic Petco field is certainly going to lower your HR totals.
 
I guess Giles doesn't play in any road games, when he could potentially hit home runs?
 
As an O's fan - yeah, no doubt that Brady (along with Mickey Tettleton before him, and David Segui [the latter of whom's admitted as much]) was seriously juicing. He went from being a speedy, light-hitting center fielder to being...just kind of freakish.

As to Mora though, I'm not so sure. He had steadily progressed in terms of his power production up through '04, and then proceeded to hit the exact same number of homers in '05. His production is off in '05, in terms of power, but not otherwise. The scuttlebutt around the O's was that in '03 and '04, the pitchers just hadn't figured him out. He also had the benefit of a 34HR-150RBI Miguel Tejada hitting behind him in '04.

Perhaps apologia, but I think in Mora's case it's mostly that he's just gotten better, and had a career year in there.
 
Your Giles comments are garbage. 16 points in batting average is nothing. RBI's are dependent on guys ahead of you getting on base, and his homers dropped from switching ballparks.
 
Good points about Mora. Again, these cases are pure speculation and I'd like to see some other examples that people come up with.
 
Shouldn't you point out that Kapler went from everyday player in 99-01 to part time player in 02-04?
 
I should also point out that Kapler is freaking huge and totally snapped during the Yanks-Sox brawl
 
Define "totally snapped". I mean, it was a brawl. That's what you do in a brawl -- you get aggressive. No, if anybody snapped during a Yanks-Sox brawl, it was Don Zimmer.
 
The best part of seeing that brawl in person was not the main part of the fight, it was kapler lowering the boom.
 
I nominate Javier (Javy) Lopez, who (in the season prior to becoming a free agent, and after three years of seeing his stats decline across the board) puts up a line in 2003 of 43 homeruns, 109 rbis and hits .328, career highs in every category. In 2000 he hit 24 hrs, in 2001 he hit 17, and in 2002 he hit just 11 (and batted .233). I also watched him frequently during his final year with the Braves, and he seemed to have dropped about 30 lbs. once he started playing with the O's. Glad you've brought up Gagne though as well...he's got to be one of the most obvious examples around, also changed his body type dramatically.
 
Alou didn't become teammates with Bonds until 2005.

The Giles suggestion has already been shot down; but yeah... PETCO kills home run hitters.

If we're counting retired players, add Jay Bell to that list. Look at the stats.
 
Not to say that Gagne wasn't using, because I think he was, but your segment on him is missing one vital tidbit: in 2000 and 2001, he was a starter. The year his ERA dove was the same year he became a full-time reliever and closer. I'm not against lists like this, but you've got to take mitigating factors like change of team, change of PT, or change of role into account aside from just thinking of players you might suspect and then scouring their baseball-reference pages for 'proof'.
 
Thanks for the correction on Alou.

And nice example with Javy Lopez. Anyone got some others?
 
Gagne was a starter, which I admittedly forgot to mention, but I am not launching a full-scale investigation here. There are a ton of factors that go into player performance, but seriously, who wants to read a long essay about it? My point was so show some stat spikes and I like that everyone posting is looking into things deeper.
 
David Ortiz deserves a mention...how is it that a guy who couldn't hit over 30 homers in Minnesota go over to Boston and dominate like that.
 
dude, you're a fucking idiot. you don't hit 40 plus homers three years running when testing is in place. it's called development. he learned how to hit lefties and continued on his upward trend. what all the other nominees lack that Ortiz has is consistency. you should be shot in the face for your idiocy.
 
Ortiz is a tough one because he's already so big, its not like we can tell if he looks bigger. He absolutely wouldn't get away with steroids with testing.

I wonder how many guys are actually on HGH and if has comparable performance results.
 
Minnesota had a philosophy of not emphasising the home run. Ortiz was a part time player that was encouraged to not swing for the fences, and just lately spoke about that frustration when the news of a Twin finally hitting 30 home runs came up.
 
remember the fringe guys, Joe Girardi, Shane Spencer, Rich Aurilia.
go back a few years to Lance Parrish and Brian Downing.
This stuff didn't just start in 98 with HGH and Big Mac.
 
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