Biogenesis Players: Then vs. Now

After watching Nelson Cruz this year and all the noise he has been making, on top of a recent report by Buster Olney stating, “The average distance of the fly balls pulled by Ryan Braun this season is down 42 feet, from 302 to 260…”, it inspired me to look up the numbers for players suspended in the Biogenesis case. The big four suspended were Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, and Jhonny Peralta. Other position players involved and suspended were Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli, and Jordany Valdespin.

This article will focus on the big four with the exception of A-Rod because he has been suspended all season. Obviously enough this is a small sample size so take heed. I will be making a couple of assumptions, the main one being that these players had been using steroids for at least 3 years (2010-2012) prior to their being caught and suspended. The other assumption being that enough time has passed for the effects of the steroids to have worn off and that their bodies/abilities are back to their more natural state.

Ryan Braun 2010 2011 2012 2014 2014 (ZiPSU)
HR/FB 14.00% 18.80% 22.80% 15.10%
Slug% 0.501 0.597 0.595 0.496 0.505
ISO 0.197 0.265 0.276 0.211 0.231
WRC+ 134 171 160 129 133
OFF 32.5 58.8 52 12.5 21
True Distance (ft) 408.2 406.7 406.9 387.9
Average Speed Off Bat (mph) 105.1 104.7 104.2 102.1

 

Nelson Cruz 2010 2011 2012 2014 2014 (ZiPSU)
HR/FB 15.20% 18.70% 13.10% 20.00%
Slug% 576 509 460 513 505
ISO 258 246 200 253 246
WRC+ 147 116 105 130 127
OFF 26.6 7.7 0.8 14.9 18.5
True Distance (ft) 405.2 411.6 418.6 398.9
Average Speed Off Bat (mph) 105.2 106.4 106.8 104.2

 

Jhonny Peralta 2010 2011 2012 2014 2014 (ZiPSU)
HR/FB 7.50% 10.80% 8.30% 12.50%
Slug% 392 478 384 447 441
ISO 143 179 145 187 180
WRC+ 91 122 85 122 120
OFF -12.7 11.2 -13.8 8.4 10.3
True Distance (ft) 392.5 388.4 391.9 397
Average Speed Off Bat 101.2 102.3 101.7 102.8

 

The main thing that jumps out at you is that Cruz and Peralta are statistically putting up some of the best numbers of their careers (without a doubt, top 3)! Braun, however, is having his worst season of the 4 above, while Peralta and Cruz both are having their most powerful seasons yet. Their HR/FB rates are each at their highest as well as their ISO numbers, while again Braun’s are at his worst of the 4 seasons. Looking at WRC+ and OFF, Peralta is having his 4th best season ever, Cruz is having his 2nd best ever, and Braun is having the worst season of his career to date (with the possible exception of 2008).

Using ESPN’s hittrackeronline.com I looked up each player’s True Distance on home runs this year as well as the average exit speed velocity of their home runs. Ryan Braun has lost 3 mph which has correlated to a shortage of almost 20 feet on his balls. Nelson Cruz has lost about 2 mph and 20 feet off his home run balls from his peak of the four years. Jhonny Peralta, on the other hand, is showing his best numbers this year.

So what does all this mean? In summary, I believe the main thing we can take away from this is that each player who used steroids should be assessed on a case by case basis. Every player is affected differently. We cannot group all steroid users together. Using the above statistics as proof, after being charged in the Biogenesis case, 2 players are having among the best seasons of their careers while another is having his worst. In addition the best all-around athlete and youngest of the 3 (so therefore closest to his prime) is the one who is struggling most, Ryan Braun! Whether it is the HOF vote, or evaluating future value of perceived steroid users, we can’t lump them all into the same group and assume that they will automatically decline. Yes, using steroids is absolutely cheating, however it doesn’t necessarily mean that those players wouldn’t have been just as productive had they chosen legal supplements or nothing at all.



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Former college Baseball student athlete. Aspiring Baseball Operations personnel, specifically in player development.


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chri521
Member

Thanks for the read but two immediate factors jump out at me that aren’t considered here. 1 is injuries and 2 is aging curves for those hitter types. Tough to incorporate

Danny Sader
Guest
Danny Sader

Very true. But both Cruz and Peralta are in their early to mid 30’s which is typically thought of as past a hitters prime. In terms of injuries you just never know.

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