Aug 10, 2007

Attn: baseball geeks

So I did something stupid last night. I played around with Barry Bonds' career stats. Those seasons before he allegedly took steroids or HGH between the 1998 and 1999 seasons and those after 1998.

It had to do with something that Bob Costas said in an interview on ESPN a couple of days ago. He stated that he had a problem with those folks willing to give Bonds a pass because "he was a Hall of Famer before he started bulking up". He stated that Bonds, while a great player, was never mentioned in the same conversation with the all-time greats like Aaron, Williams, Mays and Musial before 1999 and that it wasn't until after that he became this super-human player.

With all due respect to Mr. Costas, I beg to differ. And this, in no way, goes towards my approval of his alleged boosting. I'm just trying to make a point. Here are some stats from Barry Bonds career total after the 1998 when he was 33.

Hits HR SB RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
1917 411 445 1216 .290 .404 .556 .960

Pretty incredible career stats for a 33-year old, if you ask me. At 33 he became the only player in major league history to amass more than 400 home runs AND stolen bases. Oh yeah, he was also Rookie of the Year, MVP 3 times and in the top 5 for MVP 4 additional times. So sorry, Bob, but he WAS being included in the conversation with the all-time greats before he became the Incredible Hulk.

Now, let's go in the way back machine and pretend like he never became Superman after 1998, that he never took anything to change his body. I calculated where Bonds would be after this season by taking the years 1996-1998 and using those seasons to project where he would be after the 2007 season. Here are the assumptions that I used:

  • Barry stayed healthy for the next 9 years. This could be a reach, but I believe that many of his injures in 1999 and beyond could be a result of his expanded bulk. He only played 14 games in 2005, fer crissakes!
  • I assumed that he would keep up his pace he set from 1996-1998 for the next three years.
  • I assumed that, starting in 2002 at age 37, his skills/output would start to deteriorate at a rate of 5% a year for the next three years.
  • For the final three years, 2005-2007, I assumed that his skills/output would deteriorate at a rate of 10% a year.
With those rather broad assumptions at hand, the following is the projected career total I calculated, his actual totals through the other night and the difference for each total.

Totals Hits HR SB RBI AVG OBP SLG OPS
Projected 3168 720 535 2161 .294 .418 .574 .992
Actual 2916 757 514 1983 .298 .445 .608 1.053
Difference 252 -37 21 178 -.004 -.027 -.034 -.061

Bonds should actually have more hits and more RBI by the end of the season than he is currently projecting. All that with 720 home runs. Good enough to finish second to Aaron for career best, and who knows...with his reported work-out regimen he might have played until he was 44 just to catch Aaron. Whereas, in my opinion, I think he is done after this season and maybe sometime before the end of the season partially because of the added bulk to his frame.

Now I wanna repeat, this is by no means a slap on the back to Mr. Bonds. I think steroids and HGH have diminished his accomplishments a great deal. Then again, I was one of the screaming fans in 1998 rooting for McGwire and Sosa to smash Maris' record. Can't have it both ways.

I'm just saying that I believe Bonds was going to wind up as one of the 3 or 4 best players of all-time before he bulked up and I believe that he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible. His combination of power and speed is just undeniable.

At least to me.

Note - While the above post has to do with a lot of the negative things that are going on in my favorite sport, it is also important to remember the positive. Like this: former pitcher and notorious wildman Rick Ankiel (at the end of his rookie season in 2000, he transformed into Nuke LaLoosh, before Crash Davis got to him) started in the OF for St. Louis and in the 7th inning he hit a 3-run HR. I have to admit, I got a little verklempt over this. His collapse in 2000 and after was absolutely heartbreaking. Great story!

3 comments:

badgerdaddy said...

Bored at work, Earl?

B.E. Earl said...

No...that was the result of not sleeping.

Slyde said...

how can he be bored at a job that he doesnt have?