I have to say that I usually lean toward the "it's possible" with these "outliers," but not sure that it matters anymore.
What is insidious about all this is that the current generation of players have the previous generation to thank for all this rank speculation that they must endure. But then they can thank them for all the money that is available to them because the former generation of players sold their baseball souls for filthy lucre, most of which they have probably blown in bad investments or been leeched away by family and friends.
So, is Chris Davis grateful that he will be making mega millions in the game as he blossoms into a star or will be resentful because of the price he has had to pay as a power hitter on a record pace?
Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em
In using .400 ISO vs the history of the game in any era, (steroid, live ball, dead ball, higher mound, lower mound, etc), it opens enough eyes as it is. Davis (to this point) vs the history of the game is Ruth and the steroid trio.
If he falls off the map in the 2nd half then maybe there is something to discuss. But to this point it is an easy discussion to have.
Chris Davis ended the pre-Break part of the season on a very strong note, hitting home runs in four consecutive games. His probabilities of the AL single season home run record are the highest they’ve been all season. His chance of tying the record stands at 0.06%, and his chance of breaking the record comes in at 0.03% That’s based on his career home run rate through 2012. Other players got off to great pre-break starts, like Reggie Jackson in 1969 and Mark McGwire in 1987, only to peter out in the second half. Both were rather new players at the time, so the league was still learning how to pitch to them. We’ll see if the more veteran Davis can keep up the pace. You can see the daily probabilities in graphic form here.
In all of this conversation, I think it's important to keep strongly in mind that comparing what Davis has done so far to what guys have done in full seasons is borderline pointless.
In small samples, there were will always be a wider range of rate stats. That's the nature of variance. It's just a slightly more robust version of the silliness of looking at "on pace" stats in April.
You can take virtually any stat and say "look at what has happened in half a season, if this holds up it will be historic! We say it as if it's a meaningful statement, as if the regression were not almost inevitable.
That's not to say Davis isn't have an historic season. But if the point is that his current performance is really extreme compared to full season changes, you're actually diluting the insightfulness. It would be more interesting to compare an updated end-of-season projected ISO for Davis against historical comps (e.g. Let's say he ends the year at .340, how many people added .095 points of ISO in back to back years)?
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.
Also, I would put more into the small sample defense if he had 20 in the first half, even 25. But he is 7 off the ML leader from all of 2012. In the first half of '13. Small sample or not, he is having the kind of season that generates buzz. Both positive and negative.
Now, if he is PEDing, sure there is a good chance he is doing so illegally, but until someone comes out and says he is breaking the law, I don't think it is fair for you to put words in someone's mouth here and say they are claiming him to be breaking the law.
Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em
"I talked to an advance scout that told me if Joey Votto and Albert Pujols were on the same team he'd advise his team to do the unthinkable...pitch around Votto to get to Pujols." - Buster Olney, ESPN