Friday, September 21, 2007

Can steroids increase HRs by 50%?

This press release from Tufts University promotes a forthcoming paper from a physicist that claims that steroids can increase the frequency of home runs by 50 percent.

"A change of only a few percent in the average speed of the batted ball, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, is enough to increase home run production by at least 50 percent," [Roger Tobin] says.

My impression is that there are two parts to the paper: first, figuring out how much bat speed steroids can add; and, second, figuring out how those extra miles per hour can increase home run levels.

But 50% sounds like an overestimate. If the number were that high, wouldn't we have seen a very substantial drop in home run rates (if only among certain players) once MLB started steroid tests? Or maybe we have, and I didn't notice.

And maybe there are more qualifications in the actual paper than in the press release. We'll have to wait for the paper, I guess.

(Thanks to John Matthew for the link.)

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At Friday, September 21, 2007 8:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read it yet, but Alan Nathan's site has a link to the actual paper.

Its the first link on the right hand side.

---joe p

At Saturday, September 22, 2007 2:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read the paper and will give it a cursory dismissal based on the prevailing number of variables including expansion ('93 and '98), increased weight lifting (of which the actual benefit of steriods cannot be reasonably separated because they came on the scene during similar periods so there is really no control period) and a greater emphasis on players that hit home runs (thank you Jose Canseco).

The baseball prospectus study was much more conclusive and until we can perform a conclusive study (including pitchers) in a controlled environment (which is impossible without knowing who is on or off) the era will remain the phantom menace that it is currently.


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