June 25, 2011

Playing "What If" With Steroid Users: Sammy Sosa Edition

     A few weeks ago, I did a projection of Barry Bonds's career without steroids.  This time, I'll be focusing on one of my favorite relics of the Steroid Era:  Sammy Sosa.
     Sosa amazes me because he's a guy with over 600 career home runs and a pretty good batting average, yet he's a Hall of Fame afterthought.  It's safe to say he wouldn't have those numbers if it weren't for PED's, but could he have gotten close enough to still make the Hall?
     I designed this experiment much like the Bonds one.  Though I didn't hear anything about Sosa failing a test until 2003, let's just assume for this exercise that the doping started with 1998, when he jumped from 36 HR's to 66.  I used the stats from age 23 to 28 as the baseline, so the players' adjustment years wouldn't affect the outcome.

The Results:
     Real Sammy would go on to hit 60+ home runs in 3 of the next 4 seasons.  Clean Sammy went on to hit 33, 32, 39, and 30 in those seasons.  His final career stat line:

Hits:  2288  (2408 with 'roids)
SB:  313  (234)
BB:  631  (929)
SO:  2344  (2306)
Avg:  .250  (.273)
OBP:  .300  (.344)
SLG:  .453  (.534)
RBI:  1481  (1667)
HR:  456  (609)

Applying the same 15% penalty I gave to Bonds, Sosa's stats would look like this:

0.213 AVG, 388 HR, 266 SB, 1259 RBI

     This case is more intriguing to me than Bonds's because Sosa taking PED's could be seen as a good idea.  Nobody cares about a .250 batter with 456 HR's.  Getting to 600, no matter the method, is going to put you in the discussion though.

     Other Possibilities for this series:  Ken Griffey Jr. with steroids, Albert Pujols non-aided projection, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez

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