• 08/23/2012, 04:07PM ET

Should we be suspicious of Derek Jeter's 2012 resurgence?

Marlins Fan (156-78-31) vs YankeesFan (89-63-11)

What do we know about PEDs and their users? Not much, really. Some users are All-Stars, some are no-names, some are old, some are young, some are pitchers, some play positions. There are a lot of variables when it comes to guessing who might be juicing.

We do know, though, that NOBODY is beyond reproach. That's what spurred me to do this TD. Jeter is sort of the ambassador of baseball; an ethnically mixed player who plays for the world's biggest team at MLB's most glorious position. A multiple-time champion, an All-Star, etc.

But many fans are simply unwilling to even wonder if Jeter has cheated, as if it's blasphemous to suggest.

It's ridiculous. MLB is full of cheaters. Victor Conte guesstimates that 50% of current players are using some form of PEDs.

Yet MLB fans walk around with their heads in the sand (hard thing to do, walking with your head buried in sand) refusing to even acknowledge the POSSIBILITY of Jeter cheating.

It's sad, really.

Jeter is 38 years old. Up until this season, his stat line had been on a downward trending arc, as one would expect from an athlete nearing 40.

His FB/HR% doubled from 10% to 20%.

There are reasons to wonder.

I would agree that a 38 year old experiencing a dramatic improvement, while not impossible, could be suspicious. But in Jeter's case, we need to examine his past few years a bit closer to determine if he really has been having such a drastic upswing.

Last season, when Jeter was hitting .257 halfway through the year, it was safe to assume he was done. The pressure of getting to 3000 hits, fair or not, he admitted was putting a lot of pressure on him and effected his play.

After July 9th, the day he got his 3000th hit, he raised his BA .40 points while hitting .331 for the remainder of the year.

His 2010 season also saw some un-Jeter like numbers, but later in the year it was revealed he was playing through injuries the whole season. Perhaps there was a very logical explanation, other than age, to account for his poor one and a half season numbers in which everyone proclaimed he was done.

If we look past what now seem like explainable aberrations, Jeter is actually having a DOWN year both power and average-wise as compared to his career numbers.

Unless you're claiming he's been juicing his whole career, nothing about his year should be too alarming.

One thing I want to mention real quick... it's not just an uptick in stats that makes you wonder about PEDs; it's also the lack of a regression. Remember that phrase, the lack of a regression.

Consider this - in hindsight, Bartolo Colon's PED suspension shouldn't have been a surprise. Why? Because he's 39 years old and he's still pitching at the same level he's been at for years. Let's look at some career numbers for Colon:

average wins per year: 11
career ERA: 4.05
career WHIP: 1.32
career K/9: 6.9

Now consider that people raved about Colon's 2011 and 2012 seasons. So did he post dramatically improved numbers over those two years? No. From 2011-2012, Colon has averaged:

wins per year: 9
ERA: 4.00 in 2011, 3.43 in 2012
WHIP: 1.29 in 2011, 1.21 in 2012
K/9: 7.4 in 2011, 5.4 in 2012

The numbers are virtually the same and in the instances where there's a big difference, Colon was actually worse in 2011-2012.

But the point is there was no significant regression that usually comes with age. 38, 39 is old even for a MLB player, and it tends to show in the stat column.

Not so with Colon, who cheated.

Also not so with Jeter, and so I wonder.

Between 2006-2010, Bartolo Colon had 14 wins while posting two seasons with a 5+ ERA, including one season with an ERA above 6. So Colon did not have a lack of regression, he actually regressed severely.

That's why everyone was amazed at his comeback, but people WERE suspicious, particularly early last season when he underwent some type of mysterious corrective surgery.

Colon lowered his ERA by 3 full runs from 5 years ago. Melky Cabrera raised his batting average nearly a full .100 points from his 2008 an 2010 numbers. Those are HUGE improvements.

Nothing nearly even close to that drastic is happening with Jeter.

To address your Conte point, why should we believe this guy? He can say whatever he wants, but there's no proof to support even close to half the league is on PEDs.

If significantly less than half the league is cheating, which is what all the firm evidence and proof we have suggests, and these players who do use PEDs have suspiciously drastic statistic improves, it's not fair to randomly point the finger at a guy like Jeter who is having a far less drastic "upswing," if he's really having one at all, than the ones who have been busted.

Sorry about the delay. It's been a crazy night and I don't have much time but I do want to say this one thing - when talking about a players' age-based regresion, we can't assume he's cheating because he hasn't started regresing at 33, or 34, or anything like that. But by the time a player is 36, 37, his skill set will be deteriorating naturally and his stats at age 38 are pretty much ALWAYS going to be less impressive than whatever he'd done the previous season.

It is that way with Colon; it is that way with Jeter, to some extent.

Jeter hit a homerun on 10% of his fly balls in 2011, which is not far off his career mark. In 2012, however, he's hit it over the fence 20% of the time he hits a fly ball.

It's a strange abberation to the age-based declining stat theory, and while it's certainly not enough to convict anyone, it most definitely is cause for question.

Which is what I say we should be doing regarding Jeter. Questioning.

In my heart of hearts I believe (and hope) that Jeter is clean. But so many "good guys" got pooped for PEDs that ANYTHING outside of a normal career arc is cause for concern, and Jeter's not exempt from that.

Good TD and good luck, YF.

I don't believe that no one is above suspicion of PED usage, nor do I think it's a fair assumption to say that. By claiming that no one is beyond reproach, you're basically advocating that players be guilty until proven innocent.

And why should we believe this? Because two fairly well known players, out of at least a few hundred, got caught?

It's not right to just throw out a name and suggest, without any real evidence or backing, that X player is juicing. I know you're not saying Jeter is definitely juicing, and also that you're basing this TD off of comments by Skip Bayless, but once a name is thrown out there, they're guilty in the court of the public opinion.

Take this very example. Maybe a couple people had similar thoughts as Skip before he said anything, but before him there wasn't much, if any, link or discussion of Jeter and PEDs.

Now, regardless of what people believe, some will be suspicious and, fairly or not, associate Jeter with PEDs.

It's not even remotely fair to these guys to claim nobody is beyond reproach. Legacies and careers can be tarnished with nothing more than random hearsay started by people who really have no idea.

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August 23, 2012  04:21 PM ET

I'd love to have this one.

August 23, 2012  04:22 PM ET

I might not be here tonight, but I'd really want this one, anyway you'd want to DC me, MF?

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August 23, 2012  04:25 PM ET

Argument after work if anyone wants this topic. I'm gonna say yes.

Unfortunately, anyone Jeter's age that is having a "bounce-back" season is under suspicion in the PED era that we still live in.

Just a gut feeling, but I think he is clean. But.....nothing would really surprise me anymore.

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August 23, 2012  04:45 PM ET

I say no.

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August 23, 2012  04:55 PM ET

A better question would be: is it fair for the media to just arbitrarily throw names out there without repercussion?

I say no it isn't fair. All somebody has to do is drop a name and the guy is automatically guilty in the court of public opinion, which is wrong. This is America. I say if you don't have proof that could hold up in court, keep your mouth shut.

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August 23, 2012  05:03 PM ET

Skip should have his credentials pulled until Jeter fails a test.

Skip is an idiot. But his point is valid. With everything that we have heard, NO ONE is above suspicion. Do I think Jeter has done anything? No. But to pose the question is valid.

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August 23, 2012  05:09 PM ET

but just speaking someone's name is ridiculous and unfair.

He is speculating. In a sport where the players refused testing for decades, why is Skip being crucified for pointing out that this level of performance for a 38 year old is unusual.

August 23, 2012  05:45 PM ET

No way. This is beyond stupid.


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