FanShot

Do steroids help players hit home runs?

321

I'm not sure how many people have seen this, but Eric Walker has a long analysis of steroids in baseball where he discusses the reasons for them being banned and if those reasons actually exist. He spends a little bit looking at how much steroids really affect a player's health and other issues, but the main discussion is how much they help players hit home runs. He looks at one hundred years of historical data to analyze power rates for hitters (total bases per hit) and see just how much that has changed over time. Of course, many things can affect how many home runs are hit -- the size of the strike zone, changes in the baseball, the size of the ballparks, expansion, etc. He analyzes the data to see if we can find any evidence of steroids increasing power hitting over the past two decades, and he doesn't find anything. He also mentions that the power required to hit a baseball comes solely from the lower body (and by that he means the muscles below the shoulders) so the huge biceps and triceps that are associated with steroid users do nothing to help a player hit a baseball with more power. The post is long and filled with analysis, charts, and links to other articles backing up his information. It may be difficult to comprehend all the information, and much of it goes against the conventional widsom, but the point is that what seems so obvious isn't all that obvious after all. Now, maybe he's wrong and maybe steroids do help players hit home runs, but the point is that there are many, many other factors that go in to hitting home runs as well, and there have been many different changes in power hitting throughout baseball history, so you can't just look at the high home run totals of the past decade and assume that it was all due to steroid use. It's much more complicated than that. For another take on the article, Joe Posnanski has a post about it giving his thoughts. He's always been one of the few sportswriters with a sensible head about steroids and doesn't rush to judgement like most everyone else, so this article has him saying that maybe we've been wrong all along about steroids. He doesn't really come down one way or the other on the topic, just that we don't know as much as we think we do about steroids in baseball. So maybe we shouldn't be so quick to make assumptions and judgements about players. Besides, if a post about steroids isn't controversial enough, how about adding a little Posnanski to get things going? *By the way, Eric Walker is a longtime baseball statistician who worked for the A's under Sandy Alderson and Billy Beane and is credited with starting the statistical revolution chronicled in Moneyball.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker