Steroid Era Back in Full Swing? Late Season Hitting, Pitching Numbers Up #PEDs #Steroids

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Ever notice how one day a team will get 20 hits and the next day three for no apparent reason (eg comparable opposing pitchers, same line-up, etc)?  It’s called increased drug testing and a team  with rampant PED use will suddenly go off the PEDs when drug testing is announced, thus the lower numbers. That’s why we’re seeing this, especially with teams with known wide-spread drug use like the #SFGiants, in our researched  opinion .(SEE  Yet, many ‘dumber’  players are still using – and more are getting caught what with over 10 PED indictments this year – most ever from pure MLB drug tests (not Biogenesis or Mitchell Report secondary findings).

Ever wonder why a known or regarded steroid user like David Ortiz is being treated like a hero on his ‘retirement tour’ (Who’s the last 40 year old to hit 35 homers and  over .300 ?  Right, Barry Bonds – and we known about him . And, by the way, why is Big Papi RETIRING after a career year in 2016?  Think about it.  


As we know, anyone with good knowledge can beat the drug tests, per PED guru Victor Conte of  Bonds and Balco fame who reminds us that players must be ‘dumb or dumber’ to get caught by MLB drug testing, though tests may now be more intensive and frequent




While we’re still tabulating the 2016 stats we can tell you that there have been more true PED indictments from direct MLB drug tests than ever before (Biogenesis and Mitchell Reports busts don’t count) this year with more than ten including ‘stars’ Mejia and Dee Gordon.

‘Freakish jumps in home runs, strikeouts among MLB’s nine macro trends in 2016 ‘ -Tom Verducci

Through Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 107 players have hit at least 20 home runs—a new record, almost double the 64 last season. The Reds’ Adam Duvall has 33 in his first full season after hitting eight in parts of two years in 2014 and ’15. Jake Lamb of the Diamondbacks has 29 in 2016 after hitting 10 in ’14 and ’15 combined. Consider this trio of previously light-hitting shortstops who debuted in 2012 and each have exactly 20 home runs this year. (The only team that seems to have gone in the opposite direction is the San Francisco Giants, with no single player with over 15 homers, though Angel Pagan and Denard Span have had career homer numbers this year at advanced ages. )


Player, Team Career HR, pre-2016 Previous High
Freddy Galvis, Phillies 20 7
Didi Gregorius, Yankees 22 9
Jean Segura, Diamondbacks 23 12


It’s not quite as extreme as the San Francisco Giants numerous inflated numbers in recent post seasons, e.g. 2010 Cody Ross’s eight homers in September-October after joining Giants, 2012 Sandoval’s   three homers in one game against Justin Verlander and .340 average in playoffs, 2014 Madison Bumgarner’s 1000% improved 0.30 ERA (vs. 3.00 regular season ERA) . This season it’s the amazing New York Mets with Daniel Murphy‘s .365 average with five homers in five games (he only hit 14 the entire regular season) and Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar’s .600  average and Kenlys Morales‘ four homers and 10 RBIs. When it comes to pitching the Mets’ Jeurys Familia hasn’t given up a run in nine innings (only two  hits) of relief with his high-nineties sinkers, to back three high-octane starters.    This  might help explain why New York and Kansas City appear on their way  to the World Series. (Honorable mention is    Chicago Cubs sudden surger Kyle Schwarber with his 5 homers and .375 average (after regular season numbers of 16 and .246) and Toronto’s.) #PEDs #Steroids


There hasn’t been a Mitchell Report since 2007 and the above names are mostly younger players who could be the ‘new wave’ of PED users with, perhaps, new undetectable PEDs. With the effectiveness of MLB testing still under question, there’s no way of really knowing the REAL number of users, which STILL may be upwards of 50% as BALCO’s Victor Conte still believes. Who would have known that with the Giants it wasn’t just Bonds in the 2000’s but a whole trail of ‘cockroaches’ with the likes of Matt Williams, Rich Aurelia, Benito Santiago, etc  without the Mitchell Report later telling us so?  None of the earlier mentioned 2015 players  have have been indicted for PEDs but, then, only a handful of players have been indicted in all of baseball   the past two years. But, that’s not to say players may still be ‘using.’  (In 2013 Commissioner Selig told us baseball was clean before Biogenesis showed up with 20 players MLB testing didn’t catch. )  And,  Kansas City and New York HAVE  been teams with   histories  of greater PED use.  Another side-effect of this possible PED use is that  ‘One sided’ pitching or hitting might not make for the best viewing – though baseball TV viewing has been up in this post-season, perhaps due to the large number of ‘big market’ teams that are participating this year.



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No clear evidence that ‘steroid era’ is over, despite what the new or old baseball commissioner’s office or your local sports writer tied to a baseball team, may tell you. First, it was pitching and the big velocities the last few years but since the All-Star break we’ve also seen a sudden upsurge in hitting ,with batting averages rising for the first time in eight years, from .253 to .257  with runs and homers up, as well.



During the steroid era, that peaked between 1990 and 2012, the big numbers mostly came from hitters. Now, pitchers have joined the frey, with most every team having at least one or two pitchers who throw in the upper 90s. And what were there- SIX no-hitters this year? Yes, more than ever  in a single season. Even a couple names you may have never heard before, Iwakuma or Heston. If it weren’t for the better pitching performances, we might be right back in the 60+ homerun derby of the 1990s and 2000s.



While hitters were hesitant to show big homer totals for awhile, pitchers likely started using, thus all the sudden high velocities. But, now hitting is coming back (16% increase, from .87 per game per team last year to 1.01 this year) as noted, even with the high velocity pitching, according to Ronald Blum, AP 10-2-15 . What else explains the sudden hitting increase? Very unlikely juiced balls or bats, as Bob Melvin excuses in Blum’s  article) while, like most in baseball, hiding from the ‘S’or ‘P’ word. While Blum was quoting from mainly Bay Area people, we’ll use Bay Area teams by example. The San Francisco Giants, with most PED-indicted players since Bonds(25), have been leading the league while hitting that .270  1999 steroid high mark mentioned by Blum,  despite having only one career .300 hitter; what else could explain five undistinguished (minor leagues) rookie players all suddenly hitting .300, or close? Even new commissioner Rob Manfred may be admitting steroids are back, while sticking foot in mouth , happily saying “we’re basically back to the 2012 game” – a time when even the weak MLB drug testing caught Melky Cabrera and a few others on the eve of the Biogenesis bust of 20 more players.  The average number of runs per game also increased this year, by 9%,  during the second half the season, from 4.1 to 4.7



As late as late July, the Giants had six players batting .300 including one day’s starting lineup.


What is really needed now , since drug testing is not working (in our opinion) is another ‘Mitchell Report’ to name names; it’s now eight years later and that lack of ’embarassing’ naming names has taken away the remaining deterrent to using PEDs; just because only three players were caught with PEDs early this year (and unusual ones) doesn’t mean baseball is clean. We’ve seen unlikely players like journeyman shortstop Brandon Crawford have a career year while leading his team in homeruns (20) while PED-indicted Marlon Byrd was on the verge of breaking his all-time homer (25) mark at age 38 ; Byrd is the last remaining ‘customer’ of Balco’s Victor Conte- two thirds of his 150 carreer homers have come after the age of 35! . Then there are former singles hitters Joe Panik and Matt Duffy who have hit more homeruns this year , 8 and 12, with the Giants than they ever hit in the minor leagues in a single season. At one point late in the season the Giants had five (and almost six) .300 hitters in the starting lineup. Throughout the league there have been others, most notably A-Rod and Albert Pujolz   suddenly hitting homers in big numbers, again, at advanced ages while known PED-indicted players like Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis are up  with the league leaders in homeruns in the mid-40s. With lesser pitching, as before, those number might be in the mid-60s.


Of course, the commissioner probably doesn’t mind one bit that production is up in baseball – and probably why you rarely, if ever , hear  the ‘S’or ‘P’ word uttered from the new commissioner’s  lips’; Rob Manfred continues where Bud Selig took off. MORE

Unlikely Transformations updated 8-28-15


While baseball attendance has been down the past five years or so, there was a slight uptick this past season from 72,155,765 to 72,426,275   Whether or not this had anything to do with the increased performance numbers or baseball races we’ll have to wait and see with a larger sampling over the next year.

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Steroid Era Back in Full Swing? Late Season Hitting, Pitching Numbers Up, #PEDs #Steroids