Thursday, September 15, 2011

Got 'Roids?: Eliezer Alfonzo

Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo has been suspended for 100 games for failing his second test for "performance enhancing drugs". When talking about steroids in baseball, we usually mean the stars like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmerio, and Sammy Sosa. However steroids are not just used by very good players to put them over the top, but also by minor league players to put them in the big leagues. Lets bring in Alfonzo now, he has a career WAR (wins above replacement player) of -1 at the big league level (with a -.4 this season), a career RAR (runs above replacement, or in this case, he has produced 9 less runs than a replacement player) of -9, a horrific OBP of .271, and just 17 homers since coming up with the Giants in 06. And this is him with steroids! To play a fun, very unscientific game, lets look at Barry Bonds' stats. Its generally believed that he was not on steroids with the Pirates, but was with the Giants (or that is just how we will simplify it). This may give us a gauge of just how much steroids (allegedly) helped his performance, and how terrible Alfonzo would be without them. In his 7 years with the Pirates, Bonds recorded a 50.2 WAR (which is quite awesome). Since he spent 15 years with the Giants, we multiply that number by 2.14(285714...) and get 107.6. In reality, his Giants WAR was 121.6, giving a difference of 14 over 15 years (there are other factors that could also account for the difference, but we don't really know what they are, so lets just have fun and assume this is accurate), giving him a .93 extra WAR a year. If we assume that steroids have given Alfonzo the same .93 WAR a year extra, he would have gained 5.6 extra WAR in his 6 year career. So if we subtract that from his already -1 WAR, he would have a career -6.6 WAR in the big leagues without steroids. If he was this bad, he would never have seen the big leagues. This is how steroids and performance enhancing drugs really screw with the numbers.

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