Monday, May 22, 2006

Re-stirring the pot

In my fits of research about the surge in home runs, I never attempted to answer a basic question, now much on the mind since His Barryness has tied the Babe: how much of this is his prodigious natural talent, and how much is the juice?

Now, someone has attempted to answer. It isn't ever going to be 100% certain, of course, but I like that someone has started the discussion. Hruby's number - 616 homers for Bonds, sans drugs - seems sensible to me, but I don't think it's fair to leave it at that. I'm going to conduct an experiment on the ol' baseball simulator.

I'm going to go into my HH2001, which has all of the historical stats up to and including 1999. I will run the game for five seasons on full simulation (no human input) as-is, five times, and give you Bonds' career numbers each time; then I will edit his player profile to simulate the juice - I will make him ten years younger and repeat the experiment.

Based on having done this with a computer-generated player in the past, I can tell you what I expect: barring injuries, a jump of about 35-40 points in average, an extra 12-15 homers per year, and twice as many stolen bases. (Then again, at his peak Jimmy Howell was swiping 90 bags a year, a rate even Barry would envy.) Later this evening I will post the results.

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