DH Steroid Witchhunt: Todd Helton

This is not as easy as I make this call look, but I believe that Todd Helton was a steroid user that even without steroids was a great, pure hitter all along. I remember a segment in Jose Canseco’s book, Juiced, in which he talked about when a decent player took steroids, he would become a great player. When a star player or great player took steroids, he became all-world, unhuman superstar. Two guys came to mind immediately when I read that: Sammy Sosa, and Todd Helton.

Take a look at Helton’s numbers from 2000 and 2001. I will guess that when he broke into the league in 1997 and in his second year 1998, he was not a steroid user. However when you look at 1999, when I remember steroids starting to become a conversation and an issue (Ken Caminiti-league MVP of 1998 was on them), Helton’s slugging percentage and power numbers begin to jump.

Then you begin to see the results of what steroids, Coors Field, and being a great pure hitter did for Helton. Unhuman like numbers in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, when the big story broke about the juice, Helton got off them midway through the season, causing his power numbers to suffer and swoon for good. The average was still there but the pop and power slowly decreased, with his slugging dropping 220 points from his peak last season in only 15 fewer games played then his ‘peak’ years.

While I can see some’s arguments being that Helton has always played in a ballpark conducive to the long balls, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t have kept hitting homeruns. He’s still been in Coors field, but the only difference has been he doesn’t get those line drives in the gap and down the lines to carry out as often. The decrease in muscle isn’t giving him those extra 20 feet on those line shots. What a surprise that the great line drive hitter had 40 something doubles in the past 4 seasons, right within his career average. This shows that he’s still been hitting reltively the same. Gap to gap line drive hitter, but with less power recently.

I was talking about it with editor George tonight, and he told me to do a witchhunt on Mr. Helton. Obviously, it’s only opinion and belief. That is something to keep in mind with this. We’re simply having fun with this and trying to predict something that will never be anything more than here-say or speculation. Do we know that Helton used steroids? Hell no. Do we believe that he did?

Steroid User Rating/Probability: 89% Roider

Status: Guilty as sin