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June 6, 2013

On the Beat

Potential PED Fallout

by John Perrotto


What if Major League Baseball gets its way and is able to suspend those players whose names have been linked to rogue doctor Tony Bosch and the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic? Will the suspensions hurt many teams? Will they impact many pennant races?

So far, 20 players have been identified by ESPN as having ties to Biogenesis, but just nine are jus currently on major-league rosters and the Tigers, a team with aspiration of returning to the World Series, would be the team most hurt by suspensions if they lost shortstop Jhonny Peralta for 50 games. While such players as third baseman Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder garner most of the headlines, Peralta went into Wednesday’s action hitting .338/.385/.495 in 233 plate appearances with six home runs and a .307 True Average. That is a far cry better than last season’s slash line of .239/.305/.384 with 13 homers and a .244 TAv.

After barely playing above replacement level with 0.8 WARP last season, has been worth 2.3 WARP so far in 2013. The Tigers could plug utility infielder Ramon Santiago in at shortstop, but he would be a massive downgrade offensively.

Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera’s name appears on the list, and he is in the midst of a breakout season. The 26-year-old already has contributed 2.3 WARP while hitting .278/.362/.396 with 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts. Another young Padres player, catcher Yasmani Grandal, just finished a 50-game suspension for PED use and would be facing a 100-game ban for a second offense. The Padres could try the National League version of Jose Altuve, Alexi Amarista, at shortstop. However, Amarista might come up, ahem, short as an everyday player. The Padres have catching depth with Nick Hundley in the major leagues and John Baker at Triple-A Tucson, but neither is as talented as Grandal.

The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this season, but it is frightening to think how bad they would be if left fielder Ryan Braun was out of the lineup for 50 games. Even though Braun is having somewhat of a down year by his lofty standards, he is still hitting .292/.368/.510 with nine home runs in 228 plate appearances with 1.7 WARP. The Brewers have options on the major-league club in Logan Schafer and Juan Francisco and at Triple-A Nashville in Khris Davis and Caleb Gindl, but none of them are remotely close to Braun in ability level.

Right fielder Nelson Cruz and his boomstick have played a large role in the Rangers becoming one of the top teams in the game in this second decade of the millennium. Through 226 plate appearances, he is hitting .268/.323/.512 with 14 home runs, yet his WARP is surprisingly low at 0.8. The WARP indicates the Rangers might not miss Cruz all that much for 50 games, especially since it would give them a reason to plug top prospect Jurickson Profar into the lineup on an everyday basis, even if he would be learning to play the outfield on the fly.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: ... (06/06)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article On the Beat: Unbearabl... (05/30)
Next Column >>
Premium Article On the Beat: Not a Gia... (06/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The P... (06/06)

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