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Monday, April 13, 2009

Ellis Burks

Eligible in 2010

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2009 at 07:35 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 13, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3136411)
Hot Topics.
   2. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 13, 2009 at 07:57 PM (#3136422)
<casting aspersions>
If ever a career screamed steroids, its this one. He peaks at age 34-37, and the peak begins in 1999 San Francisco.

I know the arguments against: Ellis was a notoriously good guy and injuries hampered him during his usual peak years.

But I don't buy it. People don't start playing full seasons and putting up 150 OPS+'s for the first time at age 35. Dude juiced.
   3. JPWF13 Posted: April 13, 2009 at 08:07 PM (#3136431)
But I don't buy it. People don't start playing full seasons and putting up 150 OPS+'s for the first time at age 35.


he first put up a 150 OPS+ at 29 (limited PAS)
a 149 in 685 PAs at age 21

He also played 122 games in 2000
he played more games than that in 1987, 88, 90, 91, 93, 96, and 98.

What happened in 2000 was that he had more walks than Ks- in fact he had the lowest K rate of his career...
   4. AROM Posted: April 13, 2009 at 08:13 PM (#3136438)
Come on. What does SF and 1999 have to do with steroids? Next you'll be telling me he got them from Barry Bonds.

HOVG if there ever was one.
   5. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 13, 2009 at 08:24 PM (#3136448)
2. I didn't want to be the guy who said it first, but I'm completely with you on this one. That sort of power growth that late in a career, is remarkable.

That having been said, it doesn't really matter since he's nowhere near the HoM anyway.
   6. JPWF13 Posted: April 13, 2009 at 09:28 PM (#3136536)
2. I didn't want to be the guy who said it first, but I'm completely with you on this one. That sort of power growth that late in a career, is remarkable.


He went from age 30-32 ISO's of .230, .295, and .281
to age 34-36 ISOs of .287, .262, and .262

oooh remarkable
he has nothing on this guy

or this guy

or this guy

Of course if Burks declined ages 34-36 like Piazza, some people would take that as proof of steroid use (like an earlier post on Primer Newstand today)

Was Burks a user? I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised, but all this, "A must be a user, look at that performance spike" or "B must be a user, look at the way he collapsed" is just a bunch of BS.

Players have been having spikes and crashes, late career

peaks for a 100 years

Are there more odd career shapes like that now? Subjectively I'd say yes. Is the increase PED relates, again subjectively I'd say yes-
but careers shaped like Burks have happened in the past- no they are not common, but players have had careers shaped like that. Arguably Barry Bonds' career shape never happened before- so for him you could say yes, his career statline in and of itself is PED evidence. I think Burks you need something more than , gee he had fractionally more power at age 34 than before AND HE WAS TEAMMATES WITH BARRY!!!!

How about a witness, a failed test, even a canceled check?
   7. Steve Treder Posted: April 13, 2009 at 09:34 PM (#3136545)
Was Burks a user? I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised, but all this, "A must be a user, look at that performance spike" or "B must be a user, look at the way he collapsed" is just a bunch of BS.

Players have been having spikes and crashes, late career peaks for a 100 years.

... careers shaped like Burks have happened in the past- no they are not common, but players have had careers shaped like that.


Absolutely correct.
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: April 13, 2009 at 09:44 PM (#3136554)
That having been said, it doesn't really matter since he's nowhere near the HoM anyway.

My thoughts exactly. Steroid accusations only need to be considered for marginal HOM/HOF candidates. I haven't seen or heard anyone suggest that Burks' performance warrants consideration, so disqualification by way of PED accusation is unnecessary.

That being said, the mere occurrence of a a mid-30's peak is unexpected, but not in itself proof of anything. At the risk of overgeneralizing, based on what Burks did in his early 20s, he mostly severely underperformed in his late 20s and early 30s, and then only modestly overperformed in his mid-30s.

His problem is not a high enough peak while a CF to overcome a lack of career value.
   9. JPWF13 Posted: April 13, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3136651)
His problem is not a high enough peak while a CF to overcome a lack of career value.


the lack of career value is mostly missing PAs.
He has 8176 PAs with a 126 OPS+


Ages 24 through 32 (9 years) he had 4096 PAs at a 123 clip, he played 1011 games (out of a max possible of 1383)

essentially he missed two full seasons, 300 games, 1300 PAs.

If he had 9500 PAs with a 125 OPS+ and 1/2 of his career in CF, then yes he'd be near the borderline... (IOW clearly better than someone like Rice...)

He's also a guy if you used Marcel to fill in his age 26-30 seasons- you'd get a HOFer...
you'd get 9200 PAs and a .299/.365/.520 career line (OPS+ 128)
Which would put him in this cluster (8700-9700 {PAs, 1/3 career at 2B, 3B or CF) OPS+ 110 or greater NOT in the HOF:
Cnt Player OPS+ PA From To Ages
+----+-----------------+----+-----+----+----+-----+
1 Alex Rodriguez 147 9076 1994 2008 18-32
2 Bernie Williams 125 9053 1991 2006 22-37
3 Ron Santo 125 9396 1960 1974 20-34
4 Jeff Kent 123 9537 1992 2008 24-40
5 Dale Murphy 121 9040 1976 1993 20-37
6 Toby Harrah 114 8766 1969 1986 20-37
7 Brett Butler 110 9545 1981 1997 24-40
   10. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 13, 2009 at 10:46 PM (#3136681)

Was Burks a user? I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised, but all this, "A must be a user, look at that performance spike" or "B must be a user, look at the way he collapsed" is just a bunch of BS.


Oh, come off it. This is the ~2000 SF Giants we're talking about here. I'm not sure there's a more juicy team in the steroid era.

I mean, deep in our heart-of-hearts, we know that Aurilia, Kent, Bonds, Burks were all almost certainly cheating. Bobby Estelella came up around that time: he so flamboyantly used that I remember joking with my friends at that time that you could probably bulk up just by wringing out his jersey at the end of the game and drinking his sweat.

There was either a huge culture of steroid use around the 1999-2002 Giants or simply the most remarkable concurrence of late-career power/durability spikes in baseball history. Even at the time, people commented on Sabean's fetish for older players and marveled at how he got such remarkable, seemingly inexplicably great performance from veterans who had shown marginal potential earlier in their careers. Christ, the reanimated corpse of Benito Santiago, who hadn't been worth a #### since 1996, rolls into SF in 2002, looks cut like a well-trained middleweight fighter, and puts up 2 above-average seasons at an age when he should have been playing golf and coaching Little League.

Even in the context of the steroid era, that team sticks out as egregiously tainted.
   11. JPWF13 Posted: April 14, 2009 at 03:00 AM (#3137229)
There was either a huge culture of steroid use around the 1999-2002 Giants or simply the most remarkable concurrence of late-career power/durability spikes in baseball history.


I'm all for giving all credit for the team winning to Barry Bonds' nefarious influence- that way I don't have to waste time explaining away Dusty Baker's W-L record when I describe him as one of the worst managers I've ever seen...

but every other guy you mentioned had a more noticeable "power/durability spike" than did Burks, and this is a Burks' thread...
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 14, 2009 at 03:40 AM (#3137272)
Burks played in 2,000 games, which isn't bad for an injury-plagued career. With those missing games, as was noted, he's a closer call.

Serious question: Whose career was better, Burks's or Rice's? About the same number of games (Rice had 89 more), about the same offense, Rice with a more concentrated peak... but Burks had 1,000 games in CF.
   13. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: April 14, 2009 at 03:50 AM (#3137288)
Certainly Burks was better than Rice, but that's not really a meaningful comparison; Jim Rice is no one's idea of a Hall of Famer.
   14. Curse of the Andino Posted: April 14, 2009 at 04:50 AM (#3137355)
I can't believe it took until post 14 for somebody to mention this:


The real tragedy of Burks' injuries was that they never allowed him to be as feared as Rice.
   15. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 14, 2009 at 06:44 PM (#3137799)
10. Once again, I'm right with you. I will not deny the existence of late career peaks like Wheat or say, Gabby Hartnett, but it's sheer tomfoolery to say that during a period in which something like 80% of the players in baseball were using steroids and other assorted PED's, the odds are in favor of Ellis Burks being clean.

As I said earlier, it doesn't make too much difference to me whether or not Burks used, since Burks doesn't belong in the HoM, anyway. However, let's not kid ourselves. The Giants, much like the Rangers, had a remarkable occurrence of players who fit the steroid user archetype. Burks' Colorado power surge can be partly explained by Coors, juiced balls, etc. His SF performance, particularly after the move to Pac Bell/AT&T;, however, screams steroids.
   16. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: April 15, 2009 at 02:07 AM (#3138420)
One of Ellis Burks' age 25 BBRef comparables is Reggie Smith, another Red Sox centerfielder who enjoyed a similar late career batting surge. Maybe playing centerfield in Fenway and constantly looking up at balls flying off the Monster saps a young man's power! Now that I think of it, the Sox had a pretty good run of centerfielders between Smith, Lynn and Burks.
   17. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: April 15, 2009 at 05:48 AM (#3138695)
Cool, I loved Burks as a kid and was thrilled that he was on that 2004 team.

Still, I always maintained that if he stayed healthy would have been a Hall of Famer (not exactly a unique position to be in), and later became convinced he was a steroid user.
   18. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 15, 2009 at 11:46 AM (#3138790)
It's nice to see the witch hunting has moved to the HOM threads. Awesome.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2009 at 12:11 PM (#3138801)
It's nice to see the witch hunting has moved to the HOM threads. Awesome.


The funny thing so far is that the conversation is between non-voters.
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 15, 2009 at 12:14 PM (#3138803)
The funny thing so far is that the conversation is between non-voters.

I've noticed that. I usually just lurk the HOM because I enjoy the discussions you have here and I learn a lot about the guys under consideration. Not so much this time.
   21. Al Peterson Posted: April 15, 2009 at 01:26 PM (#3138863)
Trying to think of a comp to Burks - good deal of time in CF but not exclusive, well above average hitter. Reggie Smith was a cut above. Fred Lynn is maybe a sliver ahead. Kiki Cuyler? Kiki was better base stealer but career length, OPS+ are similar. Cuyler spent more time as a corner OF but that was due to Max Carey being on the same team. What was the word on Burks' defense?
   22. JPWF13 Posted: April 15, 2009 at 01:45 PM (#3138884)
The funny thing so far is that the conversation is between non-voters.


I actually joined and voted...once... in one of the side elections ranking HOMers...

I guess that doesn't count
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 15, 2009 at 01:58 PM (#3138901)
I meant regularly, JPWF13. zop used to be a voter at one time, too.
   24. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 15, 2009 at 02:01 PM (#3138906)
I actually joined and voted...once... in one of the side elections ranking HOMers...


WHat were the results of that? Where did yest finish?
   25. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 16, 2009 at 05:30 PM (#3140934)
zop used to be a voter at one time, too.

To be fair, I've voted in every HoM election including the most recent. I don't vote in the ranking elections because I think they're a waste of time.
But on the other hand, I think the so-called witchhunting is an important job. I find career-shapes and aging curves fascinating, and I'd like to think that with increasing data as to who used and who didn't we might be able to look back on players and estimate the probability of steroid use.
I think many HoM voters will withhold a vote from a player for whom confirmed steroid use pushed them over the in-out line; what if we could look at the career shape and say that there was, eg, and 80% chance that a player was a user? Would people withhold votes then? The information should be made available. This is an important discussion to have in view of the upcoming elections with plenty of "questionable" players.

To the extent that we can begin to untangle the statistical evidence of steroid use, combined with circumstantial non-statistical evidence, I think "witchhunting" is an essential step to properly evaluating the 1990's generation of players.
   26. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 16, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3140941)
EDIT: I've voted in every HoM election since I started voting in the "1960's"
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 28, 2009 at 06:56 AM (#3155541)
I think many HoM voters will withhold a vote from a player for whom confirmed steroid use pushed them over the in-out line;


That will only be legal in the first year a player is on the ballot.

After that, it's what he did on the field. They aren't taking back any wins teams got from players who may have juiced. This isn't the NCAA. If MLB wasn't enforcing the Hall of Merit won't be either. Once MLB started enforcing, we have suspensions to dock a player's records.

As far as the Hall of Merit is concerned, steroids aren't any different than corked bats and spitballs.
   28. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 28, 2009 at 07:02 AM (#3155544)
To the extent that we can begin to untangle the statistical evidence of steroid use, combined with circumstantial non-statistical evidence, I think "witchhunting" is an essential step to properly evaluating the 1990's generation of players.


I don't really think this is true at all. We have their records to evaluate them on. All witchhunting is an essential step for, is for people that care about it to find out who used.

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