Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Stat Note on Bonds

Steve Bauman notes a conceptual error in my previous post about Barry Bonds. Instead of using at bats per home run, I should have been using plate appearances per home run.

The pattern is still incredibly damning, in my opinion, but it's far more correct to use plate appearances. From 1993-1998, he averaged 16.10 plate appearances per home run. From 1999-2004, he averaged 11.72. And he was getting far fewer pitches to hit, because his walks were up thirty percent in the latter period.

Bonds basically had two careers: pre-1999, and 1999 onward. Players do that, sometimes--go from one power level to another after having a breakout year--but not in their mid-thirties.

Well, unless they're cheating. And the years 1997-1999 look particularly suspect for a lot of these guys, including McGwire and Sosa. I don't think there's any doubt about them, either.

I'm angry at these guys. I feel like they stole our game from us, the game that we all played and loved as kids. And I can only guess at how many players in the 1990's didn't make it to the major leagues because they wouldn't take steroids. Can you imagine playing baseball essentially your entire life, and you're denied a major league career because you're not willing to cheat?

Oh, and if you're wondering, the current major league drug testing policy doesn't include human growth hormone. So it's still going on.

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