Earlier today, I started taking a look at 15 players who may or may not deserve the same level of scrutiny the 85 listed in the Mitchell Report have received, based purely on statistics. After the jump we'll take a closer look at numbers 6-10 on my list. Now we're starting to get into questionable statistical variance territory.
Darren Daulton, 1992
Why he's on my list: I had to have one member of the early-90s Phils teams on here, and "Dutch" Daulton seemed a perfect fit. He put up monster numbers for a couple of seasons, then injuries crippled him, textbook career life cycle of a juicer. Here are the stats (Daulton's 1991 season was injury-plagued, so I've included 1990 stats as well, he last full season prior to 1992)...
|Change From Previous Year:||15||7||0.074||0.088||0.159||247|
My take: Personally, I think Daulton was a user. He got huge, put up monster numbers, then suffered a myriad of injuries for the rest of his career. His jump from '91 to '92 would've put him near the bottom of this list, the jump from 1990 to 1992 was still drastic, but less so. The league-wide ERA dropped from 3.79 in 1990 to 3.68 in 1991 all the way down to 3.50 in 1992.
Jeff Kent, 2000
Why he's on my list: Kent had several seasons with a slugging percentage of over .500, none came before his 30th birthday. In 2000, he won the MVP with his best offensive year, by a healthy margin. Plus, he was playing in San Fran during the whole BALCO fiasco, so on the list he went. Take a look at the stats, I think he was a good addition...
|Change From Previous Year:||10||3||0.044||0.058||0.085||143|
My take: If we're talking from a purely statistical point of view, Kent is a tough nut to crack. Yes, he didn't really start hitting for power until after his 30th birthday, but he also didn't get a whole lot of playing time in his 20s either. He didn't top a .500 slugging percentage until he was 30, but he's stayed above that point ever since. I think Kent's career arc is probably natural, it just happened later than usual because the Mets never gave him the opportunity he needed. Moving away from Shea Stadium probably helped as well.
Luis Gonzalez, 2001
Why he's on my list: Before we get started with Gonzo I just wanted to say that every player from here on down deserves serious attention. Personally, I think all of them had some help in putting up these numbers. Luis makes the list because his 2001 season was by far the least-expected offensive explosion of the past two decades, possibly in the history of the sport. Here are the numbers...
|Change From Previous Year:||26||18||0.014||0.037||0.144||181|
My take: These statistics are more damning for Gonzalez than the testimony of McNamee and Radomski is for Roger Clemens, in my opinion. Gonzalez went from a decent middle-of-the order guy seeing his numbers boosted by a hitter-friendly park to one of the most productive power hitters in the history of the game in the space of one season. That just doesn't happen to 33 year-old guys.
Mark McGwire, 1998
Why he's on my list: Duh. Although I can't write this without saying he and Sammy Sosa may have saved the sport in 1998, however they got it done. Here are the numbers...
|Change From Previous Year:||12||12||0.025||0.077||0.106||183|
My take: The amazing thing about the giant leap in McGwire's numbers in 1998 is that his numbers were spectacular in 1997. He made this leap over a year in which he hit 58 bombs. If there was any doubt left as to McGwire's innocence in my mind (which there probably wasn't) looking at these numbers erased it.
Brady Anderson, 1996
Why he's on my list: The biggest one-year wonder in the history of sports. Anderson got huge overnight and starting hitting bombs at an alarming rate. He set the record for HR by a leadoff hitter, then disappeared off the face of the Earth. Here are the stats...
|Change From Previous Year:||34||-3||0.035||0.025||0.193||218|
My take: If I had to bet on one guy on this list as a user, the money would go on Brady Anderson. No history of being a HR threat before his miracle season. A precipitous drop coupled with numerous injuries after said season. Anderson screams user to me.
Click here to view part three of the series and find out who number one on the list is (here's a hint, his initials are not BLB).