Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 17, 2006
BASEBALL: Cold Air and Guile

How early is it still? Well, 40-year-old Tom Glavine, 40-year-old Orlando Hernandez, 41-year-old Kenny Rogers and 43-year-old Jamie Moyer - none of whom has ever been a serious power pitcher (Glavine is the only one of the bunch to whiff more than 150 batters in a season more than once) have struck out a combined 72 batters in 71 innings thus far this season.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:03 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I wonder how much of what we are seeing this year, with another offensive explosion but also some killer performances by certain older pitchers (add Maddux) is due to a certain lack of steroid use that had been present before.

Batters going nuts because fewer pitchers are artificially stronger. Older pitchers, who used to not be able to sneak their fastball by juiced-up batters, having a rebirth.

Probably a stretch, but sometimes I wonder.

Posted by: Gerry at April 18, 2006 7:07 AM

Have we had a problem with pitchers on 'roids? I don't think so. I am only on my first coffee of the day but I am hard pressed to think of a pitcher that was a skinny rail when he came up and is now a HUGE hulk ala Bonds, Sosa, etc. etc..

Posted by: Atom at April 18, 2006 8:07 AM

Atom-

Ever looked at pictures of Clemens in 1986 and now?

Think his dithering this season is just a coincidence?

Posted by: Mike at April 18, 2006 8:37 AM

Mike,

Concur with you assessment of a young Clemens being smaller than the recent version. However, disagree with your conclusion that his "dithering" this year is related to steroids. Clemens played in the WBC which was run under a much stricter testing policy. His taking his time in picking a team or deciding to retire is tied to one thing - uncertainty on how good Houston will be. He would prefer to play for Houston, but doesn't want to sign with them and end up missing the playoffs. If the Astros fall out of contention quickly Clemens will look at a couple other teams (NYY/BOS) or just retire.

Posted by: largebill at April 18, 2006 9:13 AM

Bill-

I don't "conclude" that he's used steroids. Just throwing out some food for thought.

He wouldn't be the first future HOFer -- who's HUGE compared to 20 years ago -- to mysteriously sit out and wait just after a season of grossly age-inappropriate stats.

I mean, Roger needs no new positives to justify his career at this point. And he certainly doesn't want any "new" negatives either.

Posted by: Mike at April 18, 2006 9:23 AM

Ok, I admit I set you up. Clemens sticks out like a sore thumb and much has been written about SUSPECTED 'roid use. Look at the numbers and one can see why. What about Randy? I would not be surprised if Roger had used them...but I would be if Randy had. Why? Just a gut feeling.

My main point is that I dont think pitchers have been hitting the juice in anywhere near the numbers as hitters have. Why? Look at the offensive explosion over the years. I also think growing your muscles so large in so short a time will hurt a pitcher; change the very mechanics that got him there in the first place. As far as endurance enhancements for pitchers...we scream with delight when a pitcher makes it into the 7th now adays...endurance requirements have declined over the years for pitchers.

Is their a case of a pitcher being busted for 'roids in MLB? I seem to remember something about Wilson Alverez and Conseco, but do you all really think it is as rampant with pitchers as it is with hitters?

Posted by: atom at April 18, 2006 9:32 AM

Atom,

Steroid usage is not just about muscle growth. It is as much about muscle recovery after frequent usage. If you look at the pitchers who have been suspended over the last year or two it has been middle relievers (Rincon, Betancourt, etc). Starters have set routines which include recovery time after a start. Relievers are expected to be ready to go every game if called upon.
I expect as the season goes on this year we'll notice the new ban on amphetamines having a greater affect than the steroid ban. Watch older players either slump or take more days off in August.

Posted by: largebill at April 18, 2006 9:44 AM

I have seen about 10 games this year and the strike zones being called are more egregious than usual. Moyer struck out 8 or 9 against the Red Sox and after the 2nd inning pretty much every pitch he threw was called a strike. There is more inconsistency with what home plate umps are calling this year and it benefits the nibblers like Glavine, Maddux and Moyer. Quite simply there are tons of off-the-plate strikes being called right now.

Posted by: jim at April 18, 2006 12:36 PM

"Have we had a problem with pitchers on 'roids? I don't think so."

If I am not mistaken, a significant majority of those who have gotten caught by the new testing policy (majors and minors combined) have been pitchers.

I'd like to see why you think pitchers would not have been in on the juice fun.

Posted by: Gerry at April 18, 2006 1:05 PM

Gerry-
Did you read anything but that one line you copied and pasted?

I am not really up on the subject...I have not researched this and would be VERY shocked to find that more pitchers than hitters have been caught on the juice. I could be wrong ofcourse, but I would be shocked. Please read all the posts.

Atom

Posted by: atom at April 18, 2006 4:19 PM

"Did you read anything but that one line you copied and pasted?"

Yes, I did. I did not copy and paste it because I did not find that you personally could not think of some pitcher who had gotten visibly bigger to be at all persuasive.

"I have not researched this and would be VERY shocked to find that more pitchers than hitters have been caught on the juice. I could be wrong ofcourse, but I would be shocked."

For the major leagues, it has been exactly 50/50 (pitchers Montero, Rincon, Betancourt, Franklin, Almanzar, and Heredia versus batters Sanchez, Piedra, Strong, Palmeiro, Morse and Lawton).

As for the minor league numbers, I am having a hard time finding the exact source that gave the aggregation (it may have been on Baseball Tonight, actually), but I have found evidence that I was not the only person to have seen it. For example, Baseball Maximus wrote "I’ve read virtually no commentary on the fact that more pitchers have been suspended for steroids than position players.." In 2006, there have been 9 suspensions of minor leaguers, 8 of who were pitchers (link). There were 81 minor league suspensions in 2005, and while I do not have a link for you detailing all of them, these two links hit on 49 of the 81, and of those 24 were pitchers. Sadly, I cannot find the last 32 suspensions of 2005, but I believe that they were heavy in pitchers the way the 2006 suspensions have been.

"Please read all the posts."

Please stop making poor assumptions, such as that others are not reading your posts or that others are uninformed.

Gerry

Posted by: Gerry at April 19, 2006 7:29 AM

Gerry-

Thanks and I am shocked.

As far as my "poor assumption". I made this assumption because you asked why I thought less pitchers than hitters take 'roids. I clearly state in my posts why...hence my assumption you didn't read them.

I make my assumption, in short, because the stats are so skewed towards a major increase in power numbers over the years with little or no increase, to the casual fan(Me.), of any pitching stats like an increase in IP per pitcher, an increase in pitch speed, a overall decrease in offense, etc.. You see my point? To me the evidence is obvious that steroids are being used by a certain amount of hitters yet I do not see any increase in the pitchers stats to make me think so.

Thanks for your research, I stand shocked.

Atom

Posted by: Atom at April 19, 2006 9:20 AM
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