Who's Next? - Possible Steroid-Enduced Seasons

After Manny Ramirez got suspended 50 games last week for hCG use it made me think who will be the next new name to come out in MLB’s steroid scandal? We all know the commonly accused players like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Mike Piazza, but what about some new names. I don’t want anyone on the Mitchell Report, in anyone’s affidavit or in any new books coming out, I want all new names. I am just going but unusual spikes in stats and I am not accusing any player of using anything illegal, I am just saying that the stat spikes are suspicious.

So here is a list of 20 players that I think get overlooked. Some players are obvious, like Brady Anderson, Luis Gonzales and Adrian Beltre, while others may be surprising.

Moises Alou, CHC, 2004. In a contract year, Alou set a career high 39 HR at the age of 37. The last time he got close to that was 38 in 1998. In 2005 and 2006 he had a combined 41 HR.

Brady Anderson, BAL, 1996. He has one of the suspicious statistical jumps in a contract year. Here are his HR totals for his career 21, 13, 12, 16, 50, 18, 18, 24, 19, 8. With 50 HR in 1996 he almost doubled what he did the previous 4 years combined. And it took him 3 years to reach a total of 50 HR after 1996. Anderson never slugged over .500 before or after setting his career high with .637 in 1996.

Garret Anderson, ANA, 2000-03. There is no major jump in stats here but, for 5 straight years Garret was pretty consistent and averaged 14 HR and 78 RBI. But starting in 2000 his numbers increased by about 50%. In the 4 year span of 2000-03 he averaged 30 HRs and 120 RBI. Surprisingly his HRs dropped back to an average of 16 HRs and 84 RBIs in the next 5 years, starting in 2004 the first year of MLB's drug policy.

Tony Batista, MON, 2004. I just find it really odd that at the age of 30 Tony Batista had to go to Japan for a job in 2005. This after hitting 32 HRS and 110 RBIs in 2004. Jose Canseco talks about how he was blackballed because of his steroid use, what about Tony.

Adrian Beltre, LA, 2004. Every year Beltre was just around 20 HR and 80 RBI. In 2004, a contract year for Beltre, he hit 48 HR and had 121 RBI. Beltre’s slugging percentage went up 200 points and then dropped back down 200 points and the same went with his HR (19) and RBI (87).

Dante Bichette, COL, 1995. Previous career high of 27 HR in 484 AB, jumped to 40 in 579 AB. Lead league with .620 SLG previous hit .548 and after that .541

Ellis Burks, COL, 1996. HRs (40) in 685 ABs was increased by 19 from 1990 career high. Ellis had total 52 HRs in the previous 4 years (1992-95). RBI (128) was a increase of 36 from career high made in 1988. Burks had 177 RBIs in previous 4 years (1992-95). Stolen bases also went up to 32 a career high previously 27 at his rookie year in 1987. Ellis had 36 SBs in previous 6 years (1990-95). It wasn’t just the COL factor, since this was the 3rd years in COL. AB all were similar throughout the years so, stat increases like this seem a bit odd for some one of the age of 31.

Jermaine Dye, CHW, 2006. Set career high of 44 HR at the age of 32 when previous high was 33 in 2000. Jermaine always seemed to be a high RBI guy but in the 3 seasons before 2006, that he was healthy, he averaged 84. Then in 2006, Jermaine’s RBI spiked to 120. The following year Dye’s HR dropped to 28 and RBI to 78 in 2007. His slugging also dropped 140 points in 2007.

Cecil Fielder, DET, 1990. Cecil’s MLB career started off really slow. In 4 years he only had 31 HR, 84 RBI 506 AB in 4 years. In 1989 Cecil had to play in Japan in order to play every day. In Japan Fielder hit 38 HR in 384 AB. In 1990, Fielder’s HR jumped to 51 in 573 AB. Fielder’s numbers steadily declined each year since 1990.

Brian Giles, PIT, 1999-02. In 1999 Brian Giles’ HR (39) was an increase of 23 from the previous season. RBI (115) was an increase of 49. Giles’ slugging jumped 150 points from previous season. In 2003 the first year of anonymous testing Brian’s HR and slugging decreased to numbers that were consistent with his pre 1999 numbers.

Luis Gonzales, ARI, 2001. This season to me is the second worst one only to Brady Anderson. Here are the HR totals for Luis each year starting in 1996: 15, 10, 23, 26, 31, 57, 28, 26, 17, 24, 15. RBI totals: 79, 68, 71, 111, 114, 142, 103, 104, 48, 79, 73. In every season from 1996-06 expect 2004, Luis played at least 146 games. At the age of 33, Luis never had a season with 40 HR and he almost had 60 in 2001. He didn’t suddenly get more playing time plus started playing in a hitters park, he played in 140+ games every year since1996 and 2001 was his 3rd season in Arizona.

Shawn Green, TOR & LA, 1998-02. Shawn wasn’t really known for his power in his first 3 full seasons in MLB. Only hitting 42 HR in those 3 years, and collecting 152 RBI. Then starting in 1998, Shawn’s number spiked. Shawn averaged 38 HR, 118 RBI and had a slugging of .545 in the 5 year span. Now this isn’t too surprising, most guys are hitting their prime at the age of 25, which Green was in 1998, but to suddenly lose it in 2003 the first year of anonymous testing, is a bit suspicious.

Andruw Jones, ATL, 2005-06. Andruw averaged 30 HR in first 8 seasons, then hit 51 in 2005, and 41 in 2006, only follow by 26 in 2007. After being an everyday player for 8 seasons it seems suspicious that Andruw would all of a sudden hit 51 HR when his previous high was 36. Andruw’s slugging also increased by about 90 points from his 8 year average. Then in 2007, Andruw had a major slump for the entire season. Hitting .222, 26 HR, 94 RBI, .413 SLG.

Esteban Loaiza, CHW, 2003. Pitchers are hard to spot statistical spikes, so Esteban Loaiza is my only one on the list. From 1995 to 2002 Esteban Loaiza averaged an 8-9 record with 4.88 ERA and 5.4 K/9. In 2003 Esteban was 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and had 8.2 K/9. From 2004-08 Loaiza averaged 7-6 with 4.81 ERA and 6.1 K/9. A big reason for this spike was that Loaiza had a huge salary decrease in 2003, from $6.05 mil in 2002 to $500,000. Then back up in 2004, back up to $4 mil. It’s clear that the suspicious season that Esteban Loaiza had in 2003 extended his career 5 more seasons, when it looked like he was on his way out after 2002.

Javy Lopez, ATL, 2003. 2003 was a contract year for Javy Lopez, and he made the most of it by hitting for a career high 43 HR. Javy’s previous high of 34 in 1998, which is a long time ago for a catcher. HR were on a steady decline for Lopez, 24, 17, 11 then 43. Since 2003, Javy hit 23, 15, and 8 HR. 2003 was also a career year for RBI with 109. RBI were declining since previous high in 1998 of 106; 89, 66 52 the 109 RBIs in 2003. Since 2003, 86, 49 and 35 RBI.

Fred McGriff, TB, 1999-02. After a steady decline in numbers the previous three years in HR (28,22,19) and RBIs (107,97,81), Fred McGriff turned back the clock when he hit 32 HRs, the most since 1994. Normally not a big deal but the man was 35 and he didn't get a chance to get his 500th HR only 7 HR short. Jose Canseco talks about being blackballed after 2001, maybe the same thing happened to McGriff in 2004 after cut by Tampa after 27 games.

Kevin Mitchell, SF, 1989. From the seasons of 1986-88 Kevin Mitchell averaged 17 HR, 64 RBI, .460 SLG and batted .268 in an average of 432 AB. In 1989 Kevin Mitchell won the NL MVP, the first Giant to do so since Willie McCovey in 1969. Mitchell hit 47 HR, 125 RBI, .635 SLG, and batted .291 in 543 AB. His HR spiked by about 150%, RBI by 50% and slugging by almost 200 points, with only 38 more AB. It doesn’t help that he was arrested in 1999 for assaulting his father and in 2000 he was suspended for punching the other team’s owner in the mouth. Mitchell also played for 8 teams in 13 seasons.

Alfonso Soriano, WAS, 2006. 2006 was a year of many changes for Alfonso Soriano. Soriano was traded to Washington and shifted from 2B to the OF in the all important contract year. A move to a pitchers ballpark you would think his HR numbers would decrease, but you would be wrong. Soriano’s HR total increased from 18 to 39 from 2001 to 2002, and since then has stayed consistently in the 30s, jumped from 36 to 46 in 2006. Since 2006 Alfonso hit 33 and 29 HR in 2007 and 2008.

Fernando Tatis, STL, 1999. After 19 career HRs and 87 RBIs in 2 years, with 755 AB, Tatis hit 34 HRs and had 107 RBIs in 639 ABS in 1999. A career AVG of .265, spiked to a career high BA of .298. Fernando was also out of baseball in 2004, the first year of the drug policy.

Greg Vaughn, MIL, SD, CIN, 1996, ’98, &’99. Contract years, huge spikes in production in HRs, RBIs, and SLG. All after turning 30. Career HR: 5, 17, 27, 23, 30, 19, 17, 41, 18, 50, 45, 28, 24, 8, 3. Career RBI: 23, 61, 98, 78, 97, 55, 59, 117, 57, 119, 118, 74, 82, 29, 5. Slugging: 1989-95 .445, 1996: .539, 1997: .393, 1998: .597, 1999-03: .466.


Hollywood said...

I get what is going on here, and this is a fun game to play, but this just shows how tarnished baseball is for our generation. Who knows of ANY of these guys actually did steroids. Maybe, knowing they were in contract years, they worked harder. We dont know, but because of what we do know about roids, we will always be playing this game. It just sucks. Remember also, most players production in hrs and rbis reads like a bell curve....they take a few years to get used to ML pitching, then settle in for a few, and then pitchers learn how to pitch them and they get old so their production drops.

This guessing game isn't fair to the players. I don't know about steroids, but I do know a lot about almost all of these guys. Luis Gonzalez is widely considered to be one of the best guys to ever play baseball. Sean Green was a devout Jew. I wonder if there is any connection to being a good person and being a steroid user. That could make for a very interesting op-ed piece (which i will be writing shortly). Yes, it is cheating, but when everyone else was doing it, as Latrell Spreewell said, a guys gotta feed his family.

Mr. Green said...

I don't think they really see it as cheating as much as we the fans do. I don't think the players feel bad at all when they get caught like they say they do, they are just sorry that they got caught, and even the ones who have gotten caught I think would do it again in a second if they think they found a way to get past the system.

The fact that someone is a good person or religious has nothing to do with whether they take steroids or not, basically because they aren't viewing it as something that is that bad.

T-Bone said...

Have to agree with Mr. Green on this. I'm quite sure the players simply see this as one more method to improve performance, regardless of the possible long-term physical consequences. Imagine being a talented high-schooler, minor leaguer, or young player in the bigs who sees peers/competitors putting up stat numbers AND associated contract numbers with the help of some juice. Both in terms of athletic competitiveness and financial gain, I think it would be very difficult to resist. If there are villains in all this, their names would be MLB and the Players' Union for allowing the situation to fester underground for so long without taking a definitive stance one way or the other. If the chump Commish Selig and his minion owners weren't so busy salivating over the TV revenue brought in during the bogus home run derby years, they could have issued a blanket ban on all juice and instituted a no-escape drug testing policy. Instead, they pretended to know nothing, which really unfairly put the players in a no-win position. So I really don't see the players as the bad guys in this -- except, of course, for Bonds who's an absolutely despicable person in his own right, independent of 'roid use.

Steve said...

I always wondered about Rick Wilkins...excluding 1993, he hit 51 HR in 1935 PA. In 1993? 30 HR in 500 PA. Like Hollywood says, doesn't necessarily mean anything, I've just always found that to be among the strangest 30 HR seasons ever.

Squad said...

Honestly, I think this post is a joke, and the Soriano inclusion is the biggest reason why. If you look at Soriano's 2006 season vs. his preceding and subsequent years, you would note that 2006 was the only season other than 2002 when he logged over 700 ABs. In 2002 he hit 39 homers with 51 doubles for the Yankees. Yankee Stadium is notoriously brutal on RH power hitters, so had he played his home games in a more hitter friendly stadium, a few of those doubles probably make it over the fence. This seems to be what happened in 2006 for Soriano. Bottom line, home run rate would have been a better measuring stick.

And this is why posts like this are bullshit. You throw names around using poor methods, but hey, you put a disclaimer at the top right? This is why blogs get railroaded by the MSM. Posts like this are irresponsible because, despite your disclaimer, you got linked on the The Big Lead, which probably got this post way more hits than it should have gotten. Now there are going to be some people out there who actually believe that Soriano juiced.

I agree with Hollywood. These guessing games aren't fair to the players. The best way to deal with the steroid era is just to acknowledge that it happened and move on. If names come out, that's great, but if not, the games will go on.

Jeeves said...

That's a pretty solid list. To be fair, you should note that Loaiza's jump also coincided with him featuring a cut-fastball. When he came to the White Sox, pitching coach Don Cooper helped him learn the cutter. Coop has a history of helping pitchers increase effectiveness with the pitch (See Buehrle, Mark and Danks, John).

Anonymous said...

Garret Anderson was diagnosed with arthritis early in the 2004 season. It took awhile to figure out what was wrong with him. Doesn't mean he was clean, but it is a logical explanation for a decline in production.

Steve-o Supreme-o said...

Unfair to the players? Boo-effing-hoo. They could end this all right now by coming out and saying who's clean and who's dirty. But they're covering for each other.

Anonymous said...

If you going to put questions out there why not the biggest one.

There have been 6 men to have a slugging percentage above 600 after age 36:

Ruth, Ted Williams, Musial, aaron twice, Manny and Bonds 3-4 times.

How does a declining Hank Aaron all of a sudden lead the league in HR percentage for 3 straight years and have his best OPS+ year at age 39.

In 1973 Congress investigated Baseball and found there was a major steroid issue. In 1974 Homeruns dropped from 1.9 per game to 1.4.

Tom House, Aarons team mate admitted in 2005, "we didnt get beat in 60's and 70's we got out milligrammed" 6 out of 10 players used he claims. He said "If we got beat we found out what the other guy was on and used it"

On Aarons team Davey Johnson hits 43 Homeruns and had 118 total in his career, how does he hit 43? This is worse than Anderson and Gonzalez. Darrell Evans hit 40 twice, in 73 in 1987 and in 87 there were other issues.

They called Texas the launching pad too, then we all realized it was steroids.

In 1974 as congress got hard on baseball not only did Baseball's homeruns drop but Aaron went from 40 to 20, to out of the game a few years later never again having a good year.

The evidence is pretty clear something had to help him because you dont get better after age 36.

tenjay said...

I dispute Kevin Mitchell being on this list. He was always a big guy and I'm sure still is to this day.

grace said...

I think Manny Ramirez use steroid to gain more strength and to be hyper during the game.

Anonymous said...

Fred McGriff might have been cut from Tampa Bay because he hit .181 with a .272 OBP. So one could have cut him from the team without saying he was on steroids.

On the other hand, Tony Batista was doing decently well, hitting 32 homers and driving in 110. So he probably was juiced.

Just my thoughts.