Saturday, July 28, 2007

Barry Bonds isn't the only player with a home run anomaly

One possible solution to the Barry Bonds controversy is to look at his home run record, identify statistical outliers, and normalize those to determine the "true" number of home runs that Barry Bonds has hit.

Looking at his record, we can informally identify any anomalies. Here is his home run record in recent years.

1993, age 28, 46 HRs
1994, age 29, 37 HRs
1995, age 30, 33 HRs
1996, age 31, 42 HRs
1997, age 32, 40 HRs
1998, age 33, 37 HRs
1999, age 34, 34 HRs
2000, age 35, 49 HRs
2001, age 36, 73 HRs
2002, age 37, 46 HRs
2003, age 38, 45 HRs
2004, age 39, 45 HRs
2005, age 40, 5 HRs
2006, age 41, 26 HRs

Without performing any statistical analysis, it's clear that one year stands out. And one could argue that if the 1997-1999 data show a natural decline due to age, then there are several years that stand out.

So, let's figure out when Ted Williams started to take steroids:

1946, age 27, 38 HRs
1947, age 28, 32 HRs
1948, age 29, 25 HRs
1949, age 30, 43 HRs
1950, age 31, 28 HRs
1951, age 32, 30 HRs

Now if Ted Williams had been supplied by BALCO, he would have hit 50+ in 1949. Still, 43 looks impressive.

From another perspective, dwil also looks at Ted Williams:

Before age 35, Williams’ OBP was over .500 in close to a full season of play only once and his slugging percentage was over .700 only once. His .388 batting average (in 132 games) at age 38 was his highest other than his famous 406 BA, which was accomplished at age 22.

Williams’ numbers at an advanced age make it eve more difficult to flatly accuse Bonds of performance-enhancing drug use. With today’s advanced training methods, better amenities and better nutrition, it is possible for athletes to perform at a very high level well into their late 30s, just ask Rickey Henderson, Julio Franco (late 30s and early 40′ Franco), Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and a host of other baseball players.

Not sure what on-base percentage and batting average have to do with steroids, but I'll give dwil the benefit of the doubt there. And, for the record, Williams hit 38 home runs in 1957 at age 38, sandwiched between years with 24 and 26 home runs.

Gunfighter 09 names a number of home run statistical outliers:

Brady [Anderson] never hit more than 24 home runs in any other season in his career. In fact I can only find one other player who had a 26 HR disaprity between his best season and his second best total and that was Luis Gonzalez with 57 in 2001 compared to his next best of 31. Another famous single season power number is Wade Boggs hitting 24 HR in 1987, 13 more than his next best season and three times his 162 game average.

I know the crazy baseballs are probably the best expanation for Boggs 1987 power and there were several multi year anomolys in the steroid era like Sosa hitting 60+ three times and Shawn Green hitting 40+ three times, but most of the steroid era crazy statistics carried over several years. Brady Anderson's 1996 is the only season I can find where a guy hit both 26 more HR than any other season and more than twice the number of home runs than he was able to hit in any other year.

Is there any other HR season that is anywhere close to Brady's juicy 1996 in terms of totally out of nowhere power?

hunter05 came up with one:

You're forgetting about the great Roger Maris and his 61 homer season, which was sandwiched around seasons of 39 and 33.

In the same era, Bob Uecker had his own statistical outlier. He hit 7 home runs in 1966, exactly half of his six season total home run performance.


Sphere: Related Content