Max Kellerman And The "Joey Bats Club": How Unique Is Jose Bautista?


Ok, Max Kellerman; you may be right about Jose Bautista.  His sudden power surge does seem to have PED written all over it, but I don’t want to accuse him of cheating… yet.  In order to assess the uniqueness of Jose’s surge, I tried to find other players who had power jumps similar to his.  Between 1960 and 2006, only 5 players met the criteria.  The following criteria are based on Jose’s career characteristics
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To be included in the Joey Bats Club, the player must have:

At least a 150 point increase in Isolated Power from one season to the next…

At least 300 plate appearances in each of those two seasons…

At least 2000 plate appearances before the power surge season…

Additionally, the power surge season can’t be a return to previous high level of performance.  (This criterion is more subjective than the others, but maybe the most important!) A player with a 2011 Lance Berkman-like improvement would not make the club.

The table below shows the “Joey Bats Club”.

Table Notables:


Bob Bailey, Brady Anderson, and John Lowenstein seem to be the most analogous to Jose Bautista, their power surges came with no obvious reasons for the change.

Bob Bailey’s Isolated Power more than doubled to .310 from 1969 to 1970.  I wasn’t around in 1970, so I wonder what baseball writers were saying about him that season.  I guess I will have to go to microfilms find out.

Davey Johnson went from 5 homeruns in 1972 to 43 homeruns in 1973.  That alone should raise suspicion.  Yes, he did go from Baltimore to hitter friendly Atlanta, but his OPS+, which is adjusted for park factors and is relative to the league, grew from 93 to 143.  One caveat:  his 143 OPS+ is not much greater his OPS+ of 125 in 1971.

Bobby Grich barely made the club; in 1979 his isolated power grew from .078 to .243, but 1978 was his worst power season.  So 1979 was partially a bounce-back season, but mostly a true power surge.

In 1982, John Lowenstein’s OPS+ was 176, which was 77 points above his career average to that point. He is similar to Bob Bailey, in that I wonder what the writers were saying about him during the 1982 season.

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Performance Enhancer Detector


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The Deepest NBA Drafts Since 1981

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Manny Ramirez Retires: Did He Use PEDs For His Entire Career? (Click Image To Enlarge)



A great way to detect an abnormal career progression; it uses OPS+ as a proxy to measure overall batting skill.  Relative OPS+ is measured by comparing 5-year periods of a player’s career.  For instance, when 32 is seen on the age axis it represents the player’s performance from age 28 through age 32, and age 33 represents ages 29 through 33 and so on.  The relative part is introduced when all of the player’s other 5-year periods are indexed to the player’s best 5-year period.  The best 5-year period equals 100 and the rest of the 5-year periods are measured accordingly.  The chart above  displays the career progression in which 80% of players fit.  A couple of things to remember when viewing the chart is that the area between the 10% lines is 80% of all players measured. Additionally, the player’s performance is compared to himself, so if Player A has an 85 rating at age  32 and Player B has an 89 rating at the same age, that does not necessarily mean that Player  B was a better player; it just means Player B closer to his peak than Player A.



Manny Ramirez’s positive PED test and subsequent abrupt retirement has caught everyone by surprise.  Now that he has been caught twice, it raises the question: did he use performance-enhancing drugs during his entire career?  You’d think he had to be stupid or arrogant to get caught again. However, I think he just felt he had nothing lose; he knew wouldn’t serve the 100 game suspension. 

He actually had a great deal to lose; his legacy and HOF candidacy will forever be tarnished.  Most fans know that Manny was a great natural hitter with or without steroids, but he may not have had as much power as he displayed throughout his career without PEDs.  For him to be bold enough to get caught again makes one think that he was using for his entire career. 
The graph above shows his career trajectory; it usually accurate when trying to detect a steroid user.  The primary disadvantage of this method is that it may overlook a guy who used PEDs for his entire career, as it only detects abnormal changes in career trajectory.  Consequently, if ManRam did use for his entire career, he slipped through the cracks of an effective detection system.  If he used at only certain points of his career, it probably didn’t help him too much.  One other possibility is that he starting using around 34 or 35; there was a slight, but significant, increase in the difference between him and the average player at ages 35-38.  Bottom Line:  He was probably using for most or all of his career.

Related Posts:

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/02/barry-bonds-chart-speaks-for-itselfhis.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/randy-velarde-performance-enhancers.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/steve-finley-circumstantial-evidence.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/benito-santiago-this-guy-was-on.html

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/wait-til-next-year-which-league-gives_09.html

Bobby Doerr: No Evidence Of Steroid Or PED Use. (Click Image To Enlarge)

Normal career curve, and didn’t hang on too long.  Click HERE for chart explanation.

Adrian Beltre: Too Soon To Tell, But No Evidence Of Steroid Or PED Use. (Click Image To Enlarge)

Click HERE for chart explanation.

Other Posts:

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/wait-til-next-year-which-league-gives_09.html
http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/03/best-base-stealers-of-2010-isolating_08.html

Rusty Staub: No Evidence Of Steroid Or PED Use. (Click Image To Enlarge)

Click HERE for chart explanation

Rusty Staub’s chart is interesting.  His career path is normal until age 33.  From then on he declined, as most players do, but he declined much more slowly.  His slower decline is mostly attributable to his transition to DH and pinch hitter.  He aged very well.

Randy Velarde & Performance Enhancers: Could He Be More Obvious? (Click Image To Enlarge)



Click Here for chart explanation.



Brian Jordan: No Evidence of PED or Steroid Use. (Click Image to Enlarge)

A very consistent career, and he aged in a normal way.

A great way to detect an abnormal career progression; it uses OPS+ as a proxy to measure overall batting skill.  Relative OPS+ is measured by comparing 5-year periods of a player’s career.  For instance, when 32 is seen on the age axis it represents the player’s performance from age 28 through age 32, and age 33 represents ages 29 through 33 and so on.  The relative part is introduced when all of the player’s other 5-year periods are indexed to the player’s best 5-year period.  The best 5-year period equals 100 and the rest of the 5-year periods are measured accordingly.  The chart above  displays the career progression in which 80% of players fit.  A couple of things to remember when viewing the chart is that the area between the 10% lines is 80% of all players measured. Additionally, the player’s performance is compared to himself, so if Player A has an 85 rating at age  32 and Player B has an 89 rating at the same age, that does not necessarily mean that Player  B was a better player; it just means Player B closer to his peak than Player A. 
Other Interesting Posts: 

Woodie Held: A Normal Career Curve, No Evidence of Steroid or PED Use. (Click Image to Enlarge)

Lee Mazzilli: No Evidence of Steroid or PED Use. (Click Image to Enlarge)

He had a good early career, but tapered off later on because of back and elbow injuries.

For an explanation of the graph click HERE

Gorgeous George Sisler: No Evidence of PED or Steroid Use. (Click Image to Enlarge)

If it hadn’t been for a severe attack of sinusitis causing him to miss an entire season of his prime at age 30, he would have had an even better career.  It took 84 years for someone to break his record for hits in a single season.  His record was broken by Ichiro in 2004.

Click HERE for an explanation of the above graph.