If I can be allowed to present opinion for a moment (hardly objective), I’d like to remind the world at large that correlation, as always, does not always suggest causation. Melky’s batted-ball data shows that he’s hitting more ground balls (and his BABIP is spiked as a result), but that he’s not hitting many more HR on his fly balls than he had in 2011 with the Royals (2011 - 9.8%, 2012 - 10.7%). By pitch values, it looks like Melky is doing much more of his damage to opposing pitchers on changeups, cutters, and sliders in particular, for whatever that is worth, And he’s showing slightly more plate discipline than he had in his 2011 season with the Royals as well.
None of these appear to be indicators that point directly to an upsurge in power or strength due to an upsurge in testosterone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly a biologist, and can’t quantify whether or not a banned substance might give a player an advantage in other ways (or if he’d been using it long-term, not just in 2012). But an uptick in performance for the 2012 season ... to me doesn’t look like it would have come solely from using a banned substance. On the same token, there’s no question to many that Cabrera’s body has changed dramatically since he played for Atlanta. So hey, jump to any conclusion you’d like. But I find it a little tough to imagine that a giant (no pun intended) upswing in BABIP, improved BB% from 2011, and better hitting against changeups would come from increased testosterone.
...It’s nearly impossible to talk about performance-enhancing drugs in a free, objective manner without finger-pointing and high-road-taking and overstating the obvious. I like to give players the benefit of the doubt, both in terms of their moral (ethical?) choices and presumed innocence versus guilt. I give Ryan Braun the benefit of the doubt. I give Jeff Bagwell the (well-deserved) benefit of the doubt. I gave Mark McGwire the benefit of the doubt until he admitted fault. I’m an optimist, and I understand that not everyone feels the same way. So if you’re looking to hear someone excoriate Cabrera for doing something incredibly risky and counter to the rules of Major League Baseball, super, go ahead and look somewhere else.
Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM | 15 comment(s)
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