Skip to content

Carlos Ruiz and performance-enhancing drugs

Nov 27, 2012, 6:06 PM EST

Carlos Ruiz AP

There are a lot of differing opinions out there, educated and otherwise, on just how much performance-enhancing drugs actually enhance performance. On the one side, there’s suspected users like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens pulling off incredible feats at advanced ages. On the other, there’s the long list of proven cheaters¬†littered with names of journeymen long forgotten.

Now, though, that long list has suddenly gotten interesting at the end. The last three veteran major leaguers caught cheating were all exceeding expectations in a pretty big way:

Melky Cabrera, the 2012 All-Star Game MVP, was leading the NL with a .346 average through 113 games when he was suspended. His OPS went from .671 in 2010 to .809 in 2011 to .906 last season.

Bartolo Colon had a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland prior to his suspension. Two years after his career was presumed over due to shoulder problems, he was on his way to his best season since 2005. Had he maintained the 3.43 ERA, it would have been his second-lowest mark in 15 big-league seasons.

Carlos Ruiz established new career highs in average (.325), homers (16) and RBI (68) as a 33-year-old last season. The homer total was two more than he had the previous two seasons combined. His .540 slugging percentage was almost 150 points higher than his career mark of .393.

Of course, Ruiz, unlike the other two, wasn’t caught with testosterone. And because he was using an amphetamine, not a steroid, he’s getting just a 25-game suspension (Cabrera and Colon received 50 games apiece).

Whether the Adderall deserves any credit for Ruiz’s performance spike is a matter I’ll let others debate. But it’s more ammunition for those who believe that cheaters get an incredible advantage over those who get their results naturally.

Latest Posts
  1. Not so fast on the Bud Selig Hall of Fame talk

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:33 AM EST

    Bud Selig AP

    One Hall of Fame expert argues that Selig should have to cool his heels before waltzing into Cooperstown

  2. The 14th greatest GM of all time has been a GM for a long, long time

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

    Brian Sabean phone

    So long that he’s one of the few GMs who rocked a flip phone after he already had the top job.

  3. Angels “optimistic” Garrett Richards will be ready for April

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:50 AM EST

    Garrett Richards AP

    As of six weeks ago Angels manager Mike Scioscia was telling reporters that the team didn’t expect Garrett Richards back from knee surgery until May.

  4. Why “Deflategate” would never happen in baseball

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:10 AM EST

    Kenny Rogers Pine Tar

    No, it’s not “because the balls don’t have air inside them in baseball.” Though that is a good point.

  5. Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

    Jake McGee AP AP

    McGee is expected to begin the season on the disabled list, but he’s hoping to return by late April or early May.

  6. Rockies and Adam Ottavino avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:05 PM EST

    Adam Ottavino AP AP

    Ottavino has quietly been very effective since joining the Rockies in 2012, posting a 3.60 ERA over 179 relief appearances while averaging 9.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

  7. Report: Astros among teams looking at free agent right-hander Kevin Correia

    Jan 26, 2015, 10:01 PM EST

    Kevin Correia AP

    After negotiations with Ryan Vogelsong broke down last week, the Astros are now considering alternatives.

  8. Mariners reunite with Franklin Gutierrez

    Jan 26, 2015, 9:07 PM EST

    Franklin Gutierrez Getty Images

    Gutierrez has played a grand total of 173 games dating back to 2011 and sat out last season due to a gastrointestinal issue.

  9. Alex Avila switching to hockey-style catcher mask due to concussions

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:16 PM EST

    Alex Avila AP AP

    Avila is making a change in hopes of avoiding future concussions.

  10. Blue Jays sign president and CEO Paul Beeston to extension through 2015

    Jan 26, 2015, 7:09 PM EST

    blue jays logo

    The announcement comes after the Blue Jays reportedly ended their pursuit of Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette.

  11. Padres sign Ramiro Pena

    Jan 26, 2015, 6:30 PM EST

    Ramiro Peno AP AP

    The 29-year-old hit just .245/.304/.347 with three home runs and nine RBI across 81 games with the Braves last season and was designated for assignment in November.

  12. I don’t know if Dustin Pedroia is in the Best Shape of His life, but he IS posing with his shirt off

    Jan 26, 2015, 5:04 PM EST

    pedroia getty Getty Images

    Before cell phone cameras we just sat around and posed in the mirror. Now we can share that with everyone.

  13. Orioles, Bud Norris avoid arbitration for $8.8 million

    Jan 26, 2015, 4:16 PM EST

    Bud Norris AP AP

    Norris asked for $10.25 million and the Orioles countered at $7.5 million.

  14. More catching depth: Braves sign John Buck

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:49 PM EST

    John Buck Getty Images

    Buck joins Christian Bethancourt and A.J. Pierzynski on the Braves’ catching depth chart.

  15. The Brewers re-introduce the Beer Barrel Man

    Jan 26, 2015, 3:35 PM EST

    Beer Barrel Man

    Now, if they’ll bring back the beer mug Bernie slides into, everything will be A-OK.

  16. A-Rod is going to apologize, you guys

    Jan 26, 2015, 2:42 PM EST

    a-rod homer getty Getty Images

    I’m sure you’ve been worried about whether he would.

  17. Orioles sign Chris Parmelee

    Jan 26, 2015, 2:10 PM EST

    Chris Parmelee Getty Getty Images

    Parmelee was dropped by the Twins last month.

  18. Reds sign four-year contract extension with Devin Mesoraco

    Jan 26, 2015, 1:18 PM EST

    Devin Mesoraco AP

    Mesoraco is arbitration eligible for the first time at age 26 and filed for $3.6 million, while the Reds countered at $2.45 million.

  19. Wade Boggs shot a bull caribou without a license

    Jan 26, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Wade Boggs Horse

    Wade Boggs is . . . the World’s Most Interesting Man

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Vogelsong (5312)
  2. J. Shields (5141)
  3. J. Papelbon (4561)
  4. I. Suzuki (3798)
  5. J. Gomes (3685)
  1. D. Fowler (2890)
  2. J. Hoffman (2870)
  3. J. Santana (2855)
  4. G. Soto (2832)
  5. J. Montero (2785)