Bill James has a simple invention that he calls "The Favorite Toy". He uses a player's stats from his three previous seasons to assign an established performance level (similar to the algorithm used by Baseball Mogul). This formula projects David Ortiz to finish his career with exactly 500 home runs. With the exception of those connected to steroid usage, every eligible retired player with 500 home runs is in the Hall of Fame.
From 2003 through 2007, Ortiz placed in the Top Five in the AL MVP vote for five consecutive seasons. Again, everyone who has achieved this feat is in the Hall of Fame. All this and we haven’t even mentioned Big Papi’s post-season immortality. He earned the 2004 ALCS MVP by a wide margin, almost single-handedly crushing the Yankees in the best post-season series of all-time, and breaking an 86-year-old curse.
The only way one might deny Ortiz a place in a Cooperstown is by throwing him into the chum bucket of steroid users, alongside Barry, Sammy and Manny. The New York Daily News once reported that Ortiz was "one of eight players who were believed to have tested positive for a spiked dietary supplement in 2003, rather than for hard-core injectable steroids. The supplement 19-norandrostenedione was legal in 2003.”
Ortiz only hit 31 homers in 2003. Since then, he has been repeatedly tested and repeatedly found to be clean. Over the past three years, his batting average versus lefties has gone up 100 points, as he figured out the “Papi Shift”. In other words, Ortiz hasn’t gotten stronger with time; he has gotten smarter. He may have made a mistake 10 years ago, but there’s no reason to suspect that his numbers are tainted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Clay Dreslough is the creator of the Baseball Mogul simulation game. Born in Boston during a snowstorm in 1970, he only had to endure "The Curse" for 33 years. Clay is currently on a business trip to South Korea, where he has been logging into MLB.tv every morning at 9:00 am to watch Big Papi and the Red Sox take on the Tigers in the ALCS.