Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Juiced Baseball Players .com | Articles & Discussions about Steroids in Major League Baseball

Aside from those already named/slurred in the steroids discussion (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield), I'm curious to know who else may have been juicing.

I'll nominate 2 categories of guys that a prime for suspicion, with examples:

(and prove that I'd rather think baseball on my lunch break than eat lunch)

-middle infielders with power spikes. Exhibit A: Bret Boone. Others: Robby Alomar (averaged 7 hrs/yr for first 5 years, then 18/yr for next 8.), Jose Vidro (also breaking down often), Mark Grudzielanek (slugging percentage spiked at age 29 after moving to a pitcher's park), Todd Walker (take a look at the change in slg. %age, even adjusting for his time in Colorado), Mark Loretta (First 1,643 Abs: 18 HRs. 2004, playing in San diego: 16 HRs.)

-power relievers now breaking down (steroids are thought to encourage rapid recovery): Exhibit A: Armando Benitez. Not currently a reliever, but breaking down regularly: Kelvim Escobar. Guillermo Mota (also breaking down).

(I might also nominate the category of "relievers with multiple years of 70+ appearances who don't throw sidearm," which immediately puts the Angels bullpen under suspicion, as well as Steve Kline, Uggie Urbina, and Paul Quantrill, who had a 5 year stretch where he AVERAGED 82 appearances/yr. Think back for a second to the late 80's/early 90's pre-steroid era, and try to remember how rare it was for a reliever to pitch in >40% of a team's games. Guys like Rob Murphy come to mind (a good comp for Steve Kline), yet career was toast at age 34 due to arm problems.)

I read somewhere the supposition that pitchers were actually greater consumers of steroids than hitters. (Think about how important it would be to go from throwing 91 to 96), but so far, only Ryan Franklin (of all pitchers) has been caught. Hmmm. Unfortunately, with the coming and going of pitchers, it's tough to really see which cases are examples of guys working out and finally getting it together on the mound, and which are juiced. For example: Jason Schmidt averaged 6.5K/9 in the first half of his career, and 10k/9 recently. (He also moved to San Francisco in this period. Hmmmm.)

I also keep coming back to Sammy Sosa's Congressional testimony that said (paraphrasing) "I never did any illegal drugs in America or the D.R." (Steroids are legal in the DR, or at least they were.) If I'm not making too much of this, you might therefore assume that there's a high usage rate among Latin players - both stars and regular guys. (Plus, add in the societal-economic motivation, and I think you've got a thread worth following.)

In addition to the names above, another good example might be Fernando Rodney (sorry, Big Hurtz) - look at his K/9 from 2002 to 2005.

I'm probably no better than 50/50 on these names. It's real easy to hurl these accusations at guys who's only performance enhancement was working hard in the gym.

Juiced Baseball Players .com | Articles & Discussions about Steroids in Major League Baseball

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