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  1. Considering the comparison to Boone, you might also not want to let the term “PED” get in the way of the fun either.

    Comment by Pinetar — May 20, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  2. Boone is even more amazing since he did it at age 32. Bautista’s first huge season was at age 30 and he took the big leap forward the year before when he was 29. I think peak talant is usually considered to be about 27 – 30 so for Boone to go through those years with a total of about 1 WAR and then bust out makes him a very extreme outlier.

    Comment by MikeS — May 20, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  3. Can Dave please re-name this website josebautista.com and have it feature 10 articles about him every day? Most interesting player in baseball and it isn’t even moderately close

    Comment by bender — May 20, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  4. I traded him for Francisco Liriano. And I’m generally a good roto player.

    I read all these fellatious pieces on Joey Bats as punishment. Throw another shrimp on the barbie!

    Comment by Criminal Type — May 20, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  5. There should be at least 1 Bautista article, every day, at every site.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — May 20, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  6. Could you isolate the jump in terms of offense. I don’t think anyone is surprised or particularly cares about Bautista’s fluctuations in UZR (nor do I trust that on a yearly basis). He went from a .339 wOBA to a .422 wOBA – how often does that happen?

    Comment by azruavatar — May 20, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  7. I don’t think anyone comes close to Bautista in terms of the degree of improvement.

    That said, a couple random examples that come to mind of players that suddenly and unexpectedly improved:

    Howard Johnson
    1986: 1.4 WAR, 1987 4.4 WAR, and an overnight 30/30 sensation.

    Terry Pendleton
    1990: 0.5 WAR, 1991: 6.5 WAR, MVP-season.

    Comment by Max G — May 20, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  8. I knew Brett Boone would come up. IMO, he is one of the most obvious cases of PEDs. More on PEDs later. If I were a player, I would hate for him to be one of my comparables. The guilt by association thing would be inevitable.

    —————————————

    Terry Pendleton had a big WAR difference, but he was a good player before 1990. He was a key member of 2 WS teams (85 and 87). Pendleton was basically league average because of a weakish bat (in Busch Stadium, old Busch Stadium) and outstanding defense. Pendleton’s turnaround in batting WAR is the result of playing for the Braves in Turner Field.

    ————————————–

    There are not going to be any precedents for Bautista, because his turnaround is as improbable and as drastic as it could possibly get. He went from basically a replacement level player (even his batting runs were negative many years) to the most valuable batter/player in baseball. PEDs could not be solely responsible for that, not in a skill-based sport. I study PEDs quite a bit and they can do some rather amazing things, but they cannot do this … not to this degree …. in a skill-based sport.

    ——————————————

    Jose Bautista has 30 batting runs (component of WAR, not runs scored) in 35 games. That’s laughably ridiculous/impressive.

    I would not use WAR, because players can get huge jumps in WAR from a combination of luck and injuries and UZR.

    ——————————————

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 20, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  9. I’m interested in what information you’ve studied/found on PEDs, and the amazing things they can do. And I’m not being passive agressive or sarcastic, I’m genuinely interested in what you’ve found.

    Comment by Santos — May 20, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  10. Every home run Bautista hits is yet another dagger to the hearts of long-suffering Bucco fans and an indictment of the team’s talent and evaluation player development “abilities.” Seriously, this may be worse than when the Steelers cut Johnny Unitas.

    Comment by NuttingsTaxes — May 20, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  11. They can help you get girls into bed with you. Unfortunately, once you’re there, you can’t do anything with them.

    Comment by noseeum — May 20, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  12. Where to start? What do you want to know?

    Steroids are one of the most well researched and documented groups of substances in the world.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  13. An intersting thing is from 2009-2011, he started swinging at more pitches out of the zone, and had a sizeable increase in his contact rate outside of the strikezone.

    Comment by ddriver80 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  14. Although his rise was not quite as meteoric, Luis Gonzalez has to be at least considered a bit of a similar situation.

    Comment by J. E. — May 20, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  15. On second thought, this is not a discussion I want to have. Not here. Not now.

    It crosses too many lines, and is a separate topic from the intended purpose of the site.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  16. I guess what I was looking for was if you found any particular studies relating specifically to baseball, and the effect of PEDs on scoring runs/hitting home runs, that type of thing. I read through this article http://www.arthurdevany.com/downloads/20100226 which argued that steroids don’t have a substantial effect on hitting home runs, and looked at this one webusers.npl.illinois.edu/~a-nathan/pob/Tobin_AJP_Jan08.pdf which argues that they do. Just wanted to get the insight of someone who has, as you said, “stud[ied] PEDs quite a bit.”

    Comment by Santos — May 20, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  17. I know right, I was pretty disappointed yesterday.

    Comment by SC2GG — May 20, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  18. I don’t know what CircleChange11 has done as far as PED research is concerned, but at the height of the steroid era, I became fascinated and did a lot of reading on it.

    HGH and Steroids have very different performance benefits. Anabolic Steroids, for example, absolutely increase muscle mass, recovery and strength. HGH doesn’t make you a hulking brute however. Anyone only taking HGH and not steroids will not turn someone into a cartoonish freak like Brett Boone or Barry Bonds did for example (with the exception of their head – I’ll explain later).

    The clinical benefits of using HGH are not nearly as clear cut and beneficial as Steroids, and there are countless studies that back this up. What’s the difference between steroids and HGH? For starters, we know that a baseball player can beef up on steroids and improve his athletic performance, along with countless other athletes in different professions. It is essentially a synthetic form of testosterone and/or in some forms promotes the production of testosterone which is the critical component to muscle building. But most clinical studies suggest that HGH won’t help an athlete at all or at best have mixed results. The other key difference is that while steroids cause a bevy of nasty side effects like testicular shrinkage, an increased risk of stroke, etc. taking HGH doesn’t seem to be quite that bad for you. Many people don’t realize that it is produced naturally by the pituitary gland and its production is reduced as we age. It’s quite literally what makes us grow from children into adults. As such, it is very difficult to detect through testing, but can be through a more complex form of blood testing.

    Countless tests have shown that steroids absolutely cause an increase in weight lifting ability, however, HGH has a greater effect on muscle definition and tone than it does strength. It also has shown to have little to no impact on cardiovascular fitness. This isn’t to say it doesn’t have benefits, but those benefits are limited to a more aging demographic – unlike Steroids where the benefits can be realized at any age. To aging adults it can help them retain and/or regain muscle mass and tone, etc. But to someone in their 20’s or 30’s, it has very little impact. This makes sense if you think about it. At the age of 60, the body produces a significantly reduced amount of HGH, so the effects of taking it as a supplement would be more realized at that age than it would to someone younger who naturally produces more.

    Taking very large doses of HGH can still make you stick out though, and you can see the effects it has on some players. Remember Barry Bonds and his hat size changing by several sizes? I think everyone remembers that his melon seamed to become quite large. A lot of people attributed that to Steroids, but not so. Although much of Bonds’ testimony dealt with anabolic steroids, he was also charged with having lied about taking human growth hormones. And HGH can indeed affect the size of your noggin. The hormone, normally stimulates bone and tissue growth throughout the body. If there’s too much of it, the body starts to develop an abnormal amount of flesh and bone. This affects the entire body to some degree, but in some places the chemical receptors tend to be especially sensitive. In an adult, very large doses of HGH can cause the skull to thicken and the forehead and eyebrow ridge to become especially prominent. Hands and feet also grow out of proportion with the rest of the body.

    To a certain extent, HGH has minimal improvements for MLB players. Why do they take it then? Some doctors claim that HGH can speed up tissue repair after an injury (you may recall that when Bonds tore his bicep in 1999, he had started using steroids in ’98. He was on a ridiculous HR pace, and then got hurt. Greg Anderson suggested he use HGH along with steroids to help his tendons heal), but there isn’t much clinical support to back this belief. Other athletes may experience the smallest of improvements in an area and perceive its impact greater than it really is. Others may take it because of, well… The placebo effect. The gray area are the effects HGH have when used along with steroids. This is because it’s difficult to determine how much certain improvements are due to one vs. the other. But one thing is clear. When they are used in a segregated fashion – HGH has little impact while steroids have dramatic effects on the age group who play the game of MLB (20-40).

    Comment by Lumens66 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  19. To be fair to the Pirates, they DID give Bautista more of a chance then most teams. But, why trade him going into his age 27 season, he had always shown potential, but then just as he enters the few years where hitters typical show their maturity and put it all together they trade him for *gulp* Robinson Diaz

    Comment by ddriver80 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  20. Turner Field wasn’t around in 1991. The new ballpark alone doesn’t fully explain Pendleton’s turnaround, which was really only for two years with the bat. Fulton Co Stadium was slightly more offensive than Old Busch, but TP also experienced career highs in BABIP in ’91 and ’92 (for seasons over 100 games to that point in his career).

    Comment by fjrobinson44 — May 20, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  21. Seconded. If we’re going to analyze Bautista’s offensive improvement, let’s just look at the offensive component of WAR or other offense metrics.

    Comment by reillocity — May 20, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  22. Lumens66 – Thanks. That’s some really good info to know. CircleChange11, I’m not really sure why you don’t want to have this discussion, but that is your choice obviously and I thank you for initialaly engaging me in an interesting topic of debate. I disagree, however, on your stance that it is a separate topic from the intended purpose of the site. It is conventional wisdom these days that steroids are responsible for the HR outburst of the late 90’s. I was simply querying the fangraphs community as to whether this premise has been tested and what data, if any, is available to prove or disprove it. I think that is one fo the main purposes of this site – to test and measure the outcomes of events in an effort to find the underlying truths in baseball. I wasn’t looking for anyone’s opinion on the morality of taking steroids, or MLB’s policies concerning or reactions to performance enhancing substances. I was simply looking to the community to discuss the effectiveness of PEDs as they relate to baseball. I think this site is an appropriate place to do so.

    Comment by Santos — May 20, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  23. Just a picky note on Terry Pendleton and his Braves tenure-he played his Braves career at Fulton County Stadium a/k/a the launching pad. After he signed with the Marlins he was traded back to the Braves in 1996, but Turner didn’t go into service as a baseball stadium until 1997.

    Comment by Guy dudely — May 20, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  24. Also I just read my last comment and it is riddled with misspellings. Apologies all around.

    Comment by Santos — May 20, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  25. Boone put on about 30 lbs of muscle.

    Comment by west — May 20, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  26. Came here to post this. In Bautista’s case it’s especially pertinent since UZR has him pretty far below average early in his career, even though he was a steady hitter.

    Comment by Ian — May 20, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  27. Because he had put up nearly 3 full seasons of mediocre performance, the team acquired a more highly-touted and cheaper replacement and was going to get expensive on a team with low revenue? Oh, and absolutely no one expected him to improve to even close to his current level.

    Comment by Ian — May 20, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  28. Remember that the Blue Jays revamped his approach and stance to turn him into the player he is today. If it wasn’t for that, the Pirates letting Bautista go would be an afterthought.

    Comment by Bryz — May 20, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  29. Observation and question. Jose Bautista throughout his career has always had a violent swing but could just not make consistent contact until September 2009 when Dwayne Murphy the Jay’s hitting coach recommended adjustments to his stance and timing.

    After reviewing on http://www.hittrackeronline.com the average distance of Bautista’s 15 homeruns in both 2007 (400 ft) and 2008 (401 ft) can the people who still believe Bautista is on PED’s kindly explain why the average distance of his16 homeruns in 2011 is only 394ft?

    Comment by Duck — May 20, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

  30. Pre-2001 Bret Boone was a slender, athletic 2B with no power.

    2001 Bret Boone… wasn’t.

    Side-by-side pictures of the two are shocking.

    Comment by Llewdor — May 20, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  31. Guy I coach baseball with and I were walking up to the concession stand in between games, and we saw a Bret Boone Under Armour poster (Wearing just under armour). He and I are both into strength training and former athletes, etc. We saw it, looked at each other, chuckled, and basically said “Well then, that settles it.” Baseball had a serious problem.

    The amount of muscle he added was ridiculous. Good idea to cover it up with the baggy jersey.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 20, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  32. @SC2GG — just think how bad the weekend’s going to be! :(

    Comment by chuckb — May 20, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  33. Circlechange, just an FYI the Braves moved into Turner Field in 1997 at which point Terry Pendleton was no longer playing 3b for the Braves, some guy named Chipper Jones was maybe you heard of him.

    I assume you meant playing in Fullton County Stadium aka the Launching Pad.

    Comment by Sox27 — May 20, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  34. @ noseeum — good for you. I don’t keep a bed in my basement!

    Comment by chuckb — May 20, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  35. Barry Bonds hat size didn’t change several sizes though…. Read the fricken court case documents. I still don’t understand why so many people adhere to that belief when it has been shown it court not to have happened. He gained a lot of muscle and his head looked bigger due to it, it happens.

    Comment by A guy from PA — May 20, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  36. The Pirates shouldda held onto Bautista because “he had always shown potential”? What potential?

    At age 25, he hit .235, slugged .420, and had a total WAR of *negative* 1.4

    The next year, he hit.254, slugged .414, for a WAR of 0.5

    And in his third and last Pirate season, he hit .242, slugged .404, and had a WAR of 0.2

    Collectively, as a Pirate, in his mid-to-late-20’s, Bautista wasn’t necessarily even good enough to warrant a spot on the bench. Over that 3-year stretch, he was cumulatively *below* replacement level.

    When he got to Toronto, he had to know he was on the verge of being a non-MLB guy, a AAAA ballplayer. So it’s easy to understand why he would opt for PED help. I bear him no ill will for that decision; it’s just honestly weird to me how resistent (some) fans are to the idea that PED’s have a lot to do with Bautista’s current bizarre dominance.

    Funny thing about some baseball analysts, and how they react to public criticism of Bonds, McGwire, Giambi, Sosa, et.al.. These analysts—at BPro especially—contend that sportswriters have no right to criticize Bonds or other known PED users, because those same sportswriters said nothing while the cheating was occurring.

    But if a national sportswriter were to, right now, publicly state suspicions about Jose Bautista, he or she would be lambasted by those same “analysts” as irresponsible and/or mean-spirited.

    Can’t have it both ways, folks. If a ballplayer (or any athlete) chooses to use illegal drugs to gain a competitive advantage in their sport, it’s an ethical transgression. But apparently, it’s a transgression no one is allowed to criticize.

    Odd.

    Comment by Bob — May 20, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  37. Yep. Thinking of one stadium, typed the name of the next one.

    In 1990, Pendelteon played a partial season, setting career lows in basically everything … in a poor hitting environment.

    In 1991, he went to Atlanta and set career highs in essentially everything and played in a batter friendly environment.

    It was basically a career worst year followed by a career best year, not a change in talent or skill.

    But, yeah, you won’t see me on Jeopardy saying “Alex, give me MLB Stadiums in Southeastern US for $500.”

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 20, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  38. He’s gotta be getting tested though so I guess you are suggesting he is on some kind of designer drug that is ahead of the testing curve?

    Comment by brian — May 20, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  39. They’re not analogous situations, dude. The first is from a clubhouse culture where writers knew players took ‘roids and such because they saw them, talked to them about it, etc. What rational people object to now is the assumption that any big improvement in a player HAS to be due to drugs.

    Comment by Phil — May 20, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  40. So Bautista has the monopoly on undetectable PED’s? Don’t you think that if taking HGH turned you from a scrub to the best player in baseball, that EVERY PLAYER WOULD BE TAKING THEM? Like it was already mentioned, he used to average 400 FT on his HR’s and now he’s averaging LESS. Explain to me how steroids helped him on that. Or his incredible pitch recognition, plate discipline or batting eye. Nah, you couldn’t do it. It’s easier to blindly throw embarrassing accusations around.

    Comment by Renegade — May 20, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  41. I really wish Bautista would share this Superman drug with the rest of the league. Really interesting that he’s the only one taking it!

    Comment by Halycon — May 20, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  42. So Bob maybe you can answer the question. If Bautista is supposedly using PED’s to get strong why is the average distance he is hitting them not increasing over his career? Check out http://www.hittrackeronline.com. Average homerun distance is actually a little less this season.

    Comment by Duck — May 20, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  43. That’s the spirit!

    Comment by joser — May 20, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  44. Agree on all points.

    Comment by joser — May 20, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  45. While a certain amount of self-flagellation is natural and understandable (hey, I follow the Mariners, I get it) keep in mind that this is hardly a failing of the Pirates alone. Nobody saw this coming — that’s exactly the point of this piece. There were 28 other teams that certainly could’ve had Bautista if they’d picked up the phone, and it wouldn’t have cost them all that much. Even the Blue Jays didn’t see this much potential, re-vamped swing or not.

    Comment by joser — May 20, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

  46. I’m surprised you people are still responding to these PED accusations that are always posted here.

    PED accusers are generally trolls who just want to get a rise out of others, and make them waste their time posting valid statements about why Bautista is not a PED user.

    Generally the process goes like this:
    1 – Article about Bautistas amazing play so far, showing a bunch of freakish stats
    2 – A couple replies agreeing / supporting / asking questions
    3 – Some trollish guy goes “PED USER PED USER”
    4 – Five other people respond and say “No, this is why (insert exact same explanation every time here)
    5 – The people who explain why ask the PED user to explain their data
    6 – Some trollish guy goes “PED USER PED USER”, completely ignoring what anyone else says…
    7 – Repeat this process

    So really, why bother? Can’t we just have one legitimate explanation at the top of the article, some sort of “Generic Bautista PED Response Form” that you could just link to or point to in response to trollish guys? It would really save a lot of time and energy on the part of the real posters if they could just go. “Explain this, troll. (link to response). Once you explain this, then come back”. Then we can continue on with the actual discussion.

    Then we might get a better response, like say maybe….
    8 – PED USER PED USER! He does drugs!

    *facepalmage*

    Comment by SC2GG — May 20, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  47. Not to speak for him, but I’m sure CircleChange doesn’t want to have the discussion because they pretty mcuh always devolve into idiocy in fairly short order. In fact, I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen such a discussion — on Fangraphs or any other general baseball or sports site — go on this long without that descent into stupidity. Kudos to everybody who has contributed (and even more to all the usual nasty drive-by commenters who for some reason have stayed away). If this level of sanity and civil manners continues, we might get even more useful information out of folks. Personally, I’ve always wondered about correlation between PED use and contact rates. I mean, logically I can’t think of why there would be one but, on the other hand, Barry Bonds.

    Comment by joser — May 20, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  48. Well Bob, it’s really gracious of you to not “bear [Bautista] any ill will” for his decision to opt to take PEDs. How you know about this decision is surely beyond question, but I am curious as to just what PED(s) Bautista decided to take, and what benefits he is gaining from them. Since we can probably all agree that batspeed is the only factor that is available to the hitter to apply force to the baseball, I guess Bautista’s increase in power must have come from an increase in batspeed, in which I assume the PED(s) have aided. Strangely, he has always had the reputation for considerable batspeed. The scout who signed him initially thought, based on his batspeed at the time, that he would develop into a significant power hitter. When he first came to the Blue Jays, and I started to watch him play, I noticed he had what to my eyes appeared to be above average batspeed. On the rare occasions that he connected with a pitch, it would be out in a hurry. Problem was, that violent swing rarely connected squarely with anything, and Bautista often seemed frustrated in at bats where he would swing and miss a couple of times. At that point he would be an easy out.

    But maybe you agree that his batspeed hasn’t increased so remarkably. Rather, it may be that his ability to square up pitches, to load sooner and so be available to bring his bat to bear on a pitch on the inner half, has improved. Now the story is that this improvement is mechanical, and there is no doubt that the Bautista has been doing something different in his at bats since about the middle of 09, and began to have real success in September 09 after Rollins was traded and he began to get more regular playing time. I am curious as to what PED(s) that Bautista chose to begin taking around this time led to his new found ability to square up and drive pitches on the inner half, so that he could make this fake and meaningless mechanical change to cover the fact that he’s cheating.

    This year he’s performing at an even higher level than last. I wonder if he’s decided to go to yet more, or more sophisticated and undetectable, PED(s) so as to improve his strikeout rate, his homerun rate, and even his batting average despite the fact that he now sees only about 34% of pitches in the strike zone (which was not the case until about the latter half of August last year). I hope you will indulge us with your insights, since most of the folks who have asserted their conviction that Bautista is using PEDs have done so while bearing him considerable ill will, and totally lack your graciousness, consideration, understanding and charm.

    Comment by Mick in Ithaca — May 20, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  49. Dude your logic is totally off. Bautiste began his career when the penalties for PED use were minimal and it was unlikely he would get caught. Now the penalties are much more severe and it is very likely he will get caught. Why would he suddenly start taking PEDs now and not do it when he was with Pittsburgh? He is not a moron!

    In Pittsburgh he was constantly being benched and rarely had any true job security. He was lambasted in the paper as being a reason the team sucked. The team was a laughing stock that always lost and everyone hates to lose. He had every reason to take PEDs.

    So then he goes to Toronto where their expectations of him producing offensively are low, but they assure him of a likely bench job with a likely position of a utility infielder, which carries job security for the time being. You say he then starts taking PEDs, what so he can start. Give me a break!

    If he was not taking PEDs in Pittsburgh he would not start in Toronto after it got a lot easier to catch him and the penalties are more severe. regular cheaters cheat from birth and never stop. Bautiste is no AROD, CLEMENS, SOSA or MANNY!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — May 20, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  50. I picked him up off the waiver wire early last year in what was supposed to be a keeper league. The admin stuff fell through and we didn’t do the keepers.

    Just one of many reasons my team is terrible this year. /sigh.

    Comment by Rex Manning Day — May 20, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  51. nationalized canadian health care, yo.

    Comment by david — May 20, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  52. Don’t blame people for being skeptical, blame the players union for not submitting to blood testing, blame the PED users of the past and blame the players who kept their mouths shut while PEDs were rampant.

    I don’t think a person who is skeptical of Bautista should be considered a troll. They just don’t want to be fooled again by a player who turns out to be dirty.

    I am skeptical of Bautista, but the more arguements I hear(especially the hittrackeronline.com one) I’m starting to come back to believing he’s clean.

    But he does have a few PED strikes against him.
    1. Age 30 super-breakout
    2. HGH is NOT a controlled substance in Canada

    And the third strike being his obsurd power, I have removed due to the evidence of hittrackeronline.

    I don’t want him to be found out, but a return to earth would be refeshing sign that he’s human.

    Comment by west — May 20, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  53. absurd***

    Comment by west — May 20, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  54. Most of these guys did have jumps in WAR, but look firther most of these guys also got better on defense; Boone went from -9 to +9, same with some of the other guys.

    While his batting raw values increased alot not like Bautsita. Boone wen from average about -4 (in the 3 years before) to +42 and average of +32 over the next 3. Baustista went from a about 0 (and that includes the last month and a half of 2009) to +56.

    Furthermore look at the amazing jump in Power in terms of ISO. even Boone’s jump was alot almost 100 points, but Bautista dwarfs that.

    Untill the middle of august 2009 Bautista has a 152 ISO in about 1850 PAs. Since then he has a 358 ISO in about 1000 PAs.

    *** a note, Baustista 358 ISO over that time is just 6 points short of Juan Pierre’s career SLG. and about 45 points higher than His SLG over that time

    Comment by Jesse — May 20, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  55. SC2GG,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the people who are interested in legitimate discussion should refrain from feeding the trolls. Just call them trolls, if you must, and then ignore them. There is no point in creating a reasoned and rational response to a poster like Bob. He eschews logic and elevates belief into the realm of fact. He just wants to get a reaction out of people. That is demonstrated by the fact that he didn’t bother to respond to any of the valid criticisms of his post.

    West,
    I agree with you that skepticism of Bautista is not tantamount to trolling, but I think SC2GG was referring to obvious trolls like Bob.

    Comment by Mcneildon — May 20, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  56. West – skepticism is both welcomed and healthy for discussions, but if you’re having a discussion between two parties, especially when they initiate the discussion and you respond to them, they should have some sort of response back that’s not exactly the same as their original point.

    Imagine if a discussion went like this (note, I’m from Canada):
    “And so, Mr. Speaker, I believe that addresses the public opinion on the issue.”
    “But you’re so ooooolddddd!”
    “I just explained a perfectly plausible reason to fix everything wrong with this country.”
    “How can you possibly lead properly if you’re so olllld???”
    “Mr. Obama, I don’t believe that’s an important issue at all. Don’t you have anything to say about it?”
    “I do have something to say about it, and that’s that you’re too old. What’s going to happen when you have a heart attack and die?”
    “This has nothing to do with the solution and is a waste of time. How would you feel if I wasted all your time on something useless like complaining about your birth certificate?”
    “It’d show that I’m not so old!”
    *facepalm*

    Basically, if you’re going to start an argument then not answer back, you’re not looking to start an argument, you’re just looking to piss people off and show that you just don’t care about the actual point. So, PED whiners, fight back please. I’m tired of hearing you all cry wolf.

    Comment by sc2gg — May 20, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  57. First, thanks Eric, for the initial research.

    And thanks, Jesse, for the breakdown of Bautista’s wholly unprecedented power explosion—which is precisely the point.

    I realized before posting that I had little chance of changing anyone’s mind, particularly Jays fans, of course. And yes, I did post in order to get responses—partly in the hope that someone had a counter-argument that could dilute my skepticism. But I have yet so read such a response.

    As for what particular PED Bautista is using…last I checked there were roughly *fifty* different banned steroids and steroid variations. And the Victor Contes of the world are developing new ones all the time. I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody could ever really know, *exactly* what any given PED-cocktail will do for any athlete, whether it’s a sprinter, swimmer, shot putter, or ballplayer. Like cigarettes & cancer, the effects will differ from person-to-person; an uncle of mine smoked for over 60 years, and lived to be 98. Others are killed off by lung cancer in their fifties, or even younger.

    But it’s not unfair to say that as a general rule smoking causes cancer, and not unfair to say PED’s aid athletic performance. More lean muscle mass, and even improvements in eyesight have been cited by advocates of some PED’s. Those benefits would certainly come in handy for MLB hitters.

    Comment by Bob — May 20, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  58. Ignoring hitter/pitcher and just focusing upon leaps in “true talent”, how about Cliff Lee?

    Comment by Terry — May 20, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  59. For my money, a much better comparable than any listed would be a guy like David Ortiz. Like Bautista, he was also a big guy with a lot of raw power but poor ability to actually get around on enough pitches. And like Bautista, he went to a new club where they worked on a new hitting approach that helped him use his power for better results.

    I’m actually rather surprised to not see him on the list. Maybe his single-year jumps weren’t high enough? Or just not playing enough during his time on the Twins.

    Of course, for every story like this there’s 100 like Wily Mo Pena who had the same circumstances and amounted to nothing. So the Jays turning Bautista is definitely like winning the lottery.

    Comment by B N — May 20, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

  60. Small sample? Last year the average distance was 402.5. Let’s see where it is at the end of the year before we start drawing conclusions.

    Comment by longgandhi — May 21, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  61. To clarify, by small sample I meant that we have yet to get to the hot months of the season when the ball travels farther. This year has also been extraordinarily damp which has had a negative effect on distance. Just saying we should wait until the conclusion of the season before we start drawing any conclusions about home run distances and their possible implications.

    Comment by longgandhi — May 21, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  62. These kinds of leaps with pitchers are FAR more common. Randy Johnson is probably the most dramatic example of the past quarter century. With pitchers, there are far more implications/effects when altering mechanics than there are with hitters.

    Comment by longgandhi — May 21, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  63. What about Ben Zobrist? It’s not like he was an elite prospect and before that he hadn’t been very good either.

    Comment by Moe — May 21, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

  64. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but Ben Zobrist did not follow up his monster breakout with an even bigger year like Bautista appears to be doing. And even if you look at what he’s doing this year, the decline in his walk and strikeout rates suggest this will not be a repeat of 2009 for Zobrist.

    Comment by longgandhi — May 21, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  65. Plus he’s moved back and forth from RF to 3B, so his positional value also affects his WAR. But I still think Brett Boone is a comp because his WAR spike was due almost entirely to increased offense.

    Comment by Preston — May 21, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  66. Cliff Lee is a poor example, in his 2nd year he posted an 18-5 record and 3.79 FIP in 202IP, and then his ‘breakout’ year was simply the continuation of his progression following his injuries.

    Same for Johnson. he never had an major break out year, his first 3 seasons he posted a FIP of out 4 and improved from there, all be it late in his career.

    I dont think this any more common amung pitchers, the only one that comes to mind is Halladay. but his change came early in his career, when at about 23 he went to the minors changed his pitching motion and came back insanely good.

    Comment by Jesse — May 21, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  67. My point with Unit – who was 29 when his performance made the leap – was that he went from a 6 BB/9 guy with an annual WAR of roughly 3, to a 3 BB/9 guy with an annual WAR around 7, all from a seemingly minor mechanical adjustment. As for late career sudden significant jumps in performance from replacement level to elite pitchers under similar circumstances – Chris Carpenter, Colby Lewis, Mike Scott, Dave Stewart just off the top of my head.

    Comment by longgandhi — May 21, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  68. I think Ortiz and Youk are two of the better examples of averagish hitters turning into elite hitters in their late 20s.

    Now they were both slightly above average hitters in their early years, while Jose was slightly below average, and while they did turn into elite hitters they didn’t turn into a superfreak like Jose, but I think those two names should be brought up in this kind of conversation more often.

    Ortiz:

    21: 107ops+
    22: 111ops+
    23: -43ops+
    24: 101ops+
    25: 106ops+
    26: 120ops+
    ————-
    27: 144ops+
    28: 145ops+
    29: 158ops+
    30: 161ops+
    31: 171ops+

    Youkilis:

    25: 99ops+
    26: 113ops+
    27: 106ops+
    28: 117ops+
    ———–
    29: 143ops+
    30: 145ops+
    31: 157ops+
    32: 157ops+

    Comment by everdiso — May 21, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  69. Bautista recently said he’s been tested twice in the last month. So unless he’s a liar and a cheat, you can stop spewing garbage Bob. Again, explain to me how he’s the ONLY one in the game taking this undetectable Superman drug? Oh right you can’t, keep trolling.

    Comment by Renegade — May 21, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  70. Why use WAR to evaluate offsense, since it is distorted by single season defense?

    How does Yaz not get mentioned as his 1967 jump in WAR was 6.4 more than his 1965-1966 avg?.

    Comment by pft — May 22, 2011 @ 1:43 am

  71. Fellatious?? Really?

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:01 am

  72. These are pretty good examples. HoJo, however, was a 26-year-old who’d never played a full major league schedule before. If you project his previous season’s PA’s to his 1986 appearances, he winds up as a 25-homer, 20-steal guy even with his uncharacteristically high K rate. Pendleton’s more surprising in terms of his age, but then he’d produced 4.4 WAR just 2 seasons earlier.

    I remembered David Ortiz as leaping forward his first year with the Red Sox, but his numbers don’t jump out the way Bautista’s do either.

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:13 am

  73. @joser: Peter Gammons of all people once argued that maybe Barry Bonds hit all those home runs thanks in part to illegal substances, but that he deserved all the credit for his ridiculous batting average and walk rates. However, in my opinion, it was a specious and wholly disingenuous argument. Anyone who’s ever swung a bat understands that it takes power and quickness; anyone who’s ever faced live pitching knows how short an amount of time you have to react. Adding power means you can whip the bat around faster, wait longer before swinging, see more ball movement, swing at fewer bad pitches, etc. More power and a faster bat translate directly into being an all-around better hitter.

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:24 am

  74. Similar to Bret Boone, yes.

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  75. Yaz’s jump at age 27 was enormous, but he was a full-time major-leaguer at age 21 and started leading the league in major offensive categories at age 23, so his development was much less surprising.

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:36 am

  76. Actually, his age 23 and age 27 seasons look amazingly similar in terms of at-bats, hits, walks, (and therefore) batting average and OBP. He sure hit a lot more home runs though.

    As Bill James pointed out, Stan Musial had a similar leap in home run production at age 27. But whereas Yaz was only a minor star before that time, Musial was already the best hitter in the league.

    Comment by Jon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:45 am

  77. All the comps we’ve listed pale in comparison.

    It would be interesting to look just at batting runs and see how much of Bautista’s value comes from walks and then home runs.

    I wonder if the Cardinals have sent Pujols a copy of Bautista’s contract. *gulp*

    Comment by CircleChange11 — May 23, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  78. lol what are you talking about. David Ortiz is one of the most popular cases of Steroids.

    Comment by es0terik — May 23, 2011 @ 2:57 am

  79. Don’t forget Halladay, in his first ever big league game, took a no-hitter into the 9th. The potential was always there.

    Comment by es0terik — May 23, 2011 @ 2:58 am

  80. Like I already said, how do people still not know that Ortiz took steroids?

    Comment by es0terik — May 23, 2011 @ 3:00 am

  81. He can’t lie about taking tests, they would call him out on it immediately.

    Comment by es0terik — May 23, 2011 @ 3:00 am

  82. Bautista’s on pace to earn his entire contract in less than one season (he’s already earned a third of the contract, which is 21 million dollars, in just a quarter of a season). The Blue Jays made one of the biggest steals in Major League History. Anthopoulos is the frickin Holy Grail.

    Comment by es0terik — May 23, 2011 @ 3:02 am

  83. While I think its extreme to say that Jose Bautista 100% definitely is roiding, its just as extreme to say he’s 100% definitely not. None of us are in the clubhouse, no one knows either way really. It is very possible to beat a drug test, even more possible if your making the kind of money an MLB player makes. Designer drugs that won’t be found in a conventional urine test exist, and there are masking agents. So while I’m not saying Bautista is roiding, and I don’t think he is, its still just as ridiculous to say theres no way he isn’t.

    Comment by Manny Ortez — May 23, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  84. Lance Armstrong says hi, Renegade. ;)

    Comment by Bob — May 23, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  85. Bautista hit a homerun in the time it took me to finish the article and comments.

    It sounds like a Chuck Norris fact, but I got busy at work and by the time I finished it; it was 4:25PM.

    Comment by SFSUGatorAlum — May 23, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  86. Should that be “fellatious-O”?

    Comment by GerryM — May 24, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

  87. I think we’ve left Finley out of the PED talk which makes little sense to me. His breakout came at age 31 and ended…when testing began. Hmm.

    Remember, not all of these PED users looked like monsters. Look at Palmeiro as a prime example of that.

    Comment by DRock — May 28, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  88. I’ve always had a thought that MLB offseason is five months. Detection of anabolic steroids in the system range from 1-3 days to 17-18 months.

    Many MLB players could be using in the offseason to boost their strength tremendously then stay off them during the season. Maybe Bautista pops one of the 1-3 days ones the day after a steroid test during the season knowing he mostly likely won’t be tested for a couple of weeks.

    http://www.steroid.com/steroid_detection_times.php

    Comment by dennis — May 28, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  89. Because it’s not clear exactly what he took and when. The fact he’s still very effective now, when another positive test would be crippling to his reputation and probably his career, makes it hard to put him in context as a “user”.

    Comment by Sean ONeill — May 29, 2011 @ 1:34 am

  90. It’s not unprecedented. Check out Roger Maris’ stats in 1960 and 1961 compared to his earlier years (he was arguably as good in 1960 as 1961, just not as lucky). He bounced around before that, as did Bautista. Maris, unfortunately, “lost it’ after his prime Yankee years, before one final hurrah as one of the heros of the 1968 WS for the Cardinals.

    Comment by brock20 — June 25, 2011 @ 2:15 am

  91. There’s only five guys like Joey Bats, but even these guys are not even similar enough to say that JB’s sudden power surge has happened before.

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/07/max-kellerman-and-joey-bats-club-how.html

    Comment by deron — August 2, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

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