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Ryan Howard’s 2011: The Modern-Day Achilles

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, December 19, 2011 02:18 PM | Comments: 80
2011 Player Review, Analysis, Posts

This concludes our 2011 Player Review series. Previous posts can be found here.

It’s tough to look at Ryan Howard objectively. The highs have been great (he’s one of only five players in major league history to win Rookie of the Year and the MVP in his first two seasons), and the lows have been dreadful. There’s a great tradition in Philadelphia sports of being able to separate the great athlete from his context. We look at Eric Lindros and see his concussions. We look at Allen Iverson and think first of his bizarre and polarizing behavior and his inability to overcome his terrible teammates. We look at Bobby Abreu and we don’t see the Phillies’ career leader in OBP and an outfield talent the likes of which the organization hadn’t seen since Richie Ashburn–we see his refusal to run into walls. We see Donovan McNabb and rather than recognizing that he’s the greatest offensive player the Eagles have ever had, we crucify him for only being the third-best quarterback in the NFL during his prime.

So, too, with Ryan Howard. But instead of concussions, or Ricky Manning, or a rap album, we see what should simply be known as The Contract. In his prime, Howard was as good a power hitter as could be found in baseball. His 2006 season was probably not as good as Albert Pujols‘, but his winning the MVP that year was hardly a miscarriage of justice. But since then, he’s slipped from those ranks. The league discovered that he was a dead-pull hitter who couldn’t recognize low off-speed pitches, and without much athleticism or defense to fall back on, Howard went from MVP candidate to pretty good in the blink of an eye.

Except Ruben Amaro, in April 2010, signed him to a contract extension that paid him like an MVP candidate through his age-36 season. And while I don’t begrudge Howard a dollar of the $125 million he’ll make over the next five years, that figure will color everything he does for the rest of his time with the Phillies.

But y’all know all this. How did he do in 2011?

In a vacuum, 2.7 rWAR, 1.6 fWAR is not what you want out of your franchise player. But here’s the thing: as Howard continues to age and lose bat speed (as everyone does after age 31), the most troubling bit of his game will only get worse. Against righties in 2011, Howard posted a .266/.370/.566 line. That’s quite good by anyone’s standards. But against lefties? That line drops to .224/.286/.347. That’s a drop of nearly 300 points’ worth of OPS. Howard’s platoon split is so severe that merely bringing in a LOOGY turns Howard from a hitter equivalent to 2010 Jayson Werth into a hitter appreciably worse than 2010 Wilson Valdez. And since he already sees more breaking balls and fewer strikes than just about anyone else in baseball.

That’s where the Achilles comparison comes in. In addition to being convenient because The Howitzer tore his Achilles tendon on the final play of the 2011 season, he’s a man blessed with talent so immense it could only be described as metaphysical. But at the same time, that late-inning lefty throwing slop is baseball’s equivalent to Paris’ arrow through the ankle. For all the good Howard does, that one weakness is certainly a doozy.

Grade: 4.8/10 In a vacuum, Howard is a pretty decent, but flawed player. But in context, where he’s making roughly the same money as Albert Pujols to be the cleanup hitter on a team with designs on another World Series title? Not so much. What you think of Howard depends on how easily you can separate him from his contract.

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    he still puts up numbers. he hasn’t had a healthy full season in either of the last two. I still firmly believe he can put up 45 and 135 for many more years with a full healthy year. he hasn’t been right since he turned his ankle in dc last august. he was hurt all year this year. prior to hurting his ankle last summer, he was on track to another monster year. he still puts up ridiculous rbi numbers.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    the pujols contract for the angels is a million times worse than the howard contract for the phils. that’s just what you pay for bigtime slugging powerhitter firstbasemen.

    the a rod contract for the yankees is another one that is way way worse than howards.

     
    • Posts: 19 Moondog

      Avatar of Moondog

      You are absolutely spot on. Pujols, Kemp, ARod and the soon to be Fielder contracts are awful deals.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        You are spot off. The Pujols deal isn’t bad, the Kemp deal might turn out to be good and you really shouldn’t talk negatively about a contract before it exists (Fielder).

         
  • Posts: 31 Josh

    Avatar of Josh

    While I agree that Ryan’s negatives get amplified by most due to his contract, I for one am sickened with how he seems to get worse against LHP every year simply due to the fact that he can’t keep the bat on his shoulder. This is not an age issue, its a plate approach issue, and Ryan just can’t seem to get it though his head that if he would just start taking walks when they are essentially given to him, his numbers could look like 2006 again. I’m sure their will be people on here that will say “Howard isnt paid to take walks!!” To those people, I say you are missing the point. By swinging at everything, Howard turns himself into an easy out…he needs to take more walks so that he gives himself a chance to do what he gets paid to do.

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      Of course it’s an age issue. If you go back and look at Keith Law’s controversial (at least to Phillies fans) column on the day the contract was announced, every point Law made at the time is coming to fruition. This is the way players decline, and Howard is in his decline years.

      I can’t blame Howard for taking the deal, it was an incredibly expensive miscalculation by RAJ.

       
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        If Pujoles gets 10/ $250 M … and Fielder gets 7/ $175 M..

        would Howard’s 5/ $125 M still look bad to everyone?…

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Yes, it still looks horrible. Bad contracts aren’t The Highlander; there can be more than one.

         
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        Eric L . . . . . then we get crazy and playing Devil’s Advocate … if they’re ALL bad, are any of them bad?? Would you rather be one of the “haves” -and have a power threat .. overpaid.. overrated

        or the “have nots” ….

        considering we have the money to be among the Haves-

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Don M, that’s an easy answer, but if you’re a “have” who doesn’t get good value from the money, the advantage over “have nots” can quickly evaporate (e.g. Cubs, Mets).

        Ideal of course would be to be a “have” who didn’t make big mistakes.

         
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        right …. but Phillies fans would’ve flipped their lids if we didnt sign one of Pujols, Fielder, or Howard …. so we’re likely getting the one with a history here (which suddenly doesn’t matter to Philadelphia sports fans??) … and will liekyl come the cheapest of the bunch

        I don’t want Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, or Derek Lee as my first baseman when we can afford the better players

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        For the record, I’ve said that the Pujols contract isn’t that bad. He’s going to have to put up something like 45WAR (probably less with inflation) for that contract to be worth its value, not counting the ancillary benefits having Pujols contributes to the Angels (TV ratings, ticket sales, memorabilia, etc). Barring some sort of freak injury like getting hit by a meteor or actually being 35 years old, I don’t see how Pujols doesn’t hit that.

         
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        speaking of ticket sales, TV ratings, etc . . . .. one of the things Amaro has previously said about Ryan Howard is “He puts butts in seasts!” ..

        I’m not trying to tell anyone that he’s the greatest player ever (except a certain reader on here, who thinks that I do) … but He’s a power threat, a guy that can change a game with one swing of the bat and those guys get paid handsomely … take it or leave it

        I’d rather have Pujols, Fielder, Votto, Gonzo, and maybe a few others – but he’s among the best at the job they pay him to do … drive in runners …

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        This is picking the time period where Howard comes out best, but in the 4 years 2008-2011, these are the top 5 in the percentage of baserunners that they’ve driven in. I.e. of the runners on base when they come to bat, what % do they drive in:

        1. Hamilton 19.9%
        2. Howard 18.6%
        3. Votto 18.3%
        4. KMorales 18.2%
        5. Braun 18.1%

        14. Pujols 17.3%

        34. Teixeira 16.6%

        64. Fielder 15.7%

         
    • Posts: 5271 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I think it’s a combination of both Jeff Dowder. If his plate discipline was better, it would hide some of the aging issues. But I do agree it’s unfair to begrudge a man for accepting what was offered to him.

       
    • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      It is not a matter of taking walks at all. It is a matter of not swinging at complete crap in order to get better pitches. Taking more pitches could create a few more walks, but more importantly it will also give him better pitches to hit and do his job. He does not need to walk more to do his job, but but take more pitches. Having said that, he needs to start with one very key fundemental error in his plate approach, if you find yourself in a 3-0 count. Do NOT freakin swing. Interestingly enough, as we are baching Howard for not walking enough, he is still in the top 10 for walks (number 7). The problem is not his walk ratio, it is his strike outs (#2). Just because he might (doubtful) learn to lay off the low off speed pitches, and strike out less, it does not mean he would walk more. Far too often people say take more walks. Just because he takes a few more pitches, doesnt mean he will walk more, but it more than likely would mean he gets better pitches to hit. The biggest problem with all of this is management. Cholly gives him a green light PERIOD. That is a problem. The other problem….Greg Gross will not step in and tell him to lay off anything. He has said on multiple occassions that he lets the guys do what they have been doing. Uhh, isnt the point of a hitting COACH to actually COACH the players with what is wrong with their approach? LOL

       
      • Posts: 5271 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Exactly. This is what I have been saying for almost three years now. The goal is not to draw more walks, but to make the pitcher give you better pitches to hit. As a by-product of the patient approach he would draw more walks unconsciously.

        For those that point out that he already draws the most walks on the team, or think that it’s “not his job” to walk, please read Brian’s entire comment above.

         
  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    4.8 out of 10?? Harsh, neigh – bitter!
    Let’s see how the Phils fare without him until June. If the Phils are wallowing around the .500 mark in June when Ryan comes back and wind up taking the division – will there be an adjustment? Even if he does hit .255? Ryan might get in 100-110 games, see what the winning percentage is with and without Ryan, judge his value then.

     
    • Posts: 427 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      “Winning percentage while player A is in the lineup” is a terrible stat, and leads to conclusions like Wilson Valdez was the 2010 team MVP. If only there was some type of stat that shows the value of a player in terms of wins though, and compare that performance to some kind of baseline performance, like a “replacement level player” or something. What we need is some kind of “Wins Above Replacement” thing to determine how many wins a person is worth.

      Too bad such numerical sorcery doesn’t exist…

       
      • Posts: 1004 betasigmadeltashag

        Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

        I am sorry but there no way that WAR is not an arbitrary number proving the stats can prove anything you want them too. How can you have a stat where there is a arbitrary “replacement Player” It has to be the worse sabrementrics stat there is. I can come up with a number to prove my point with statistics it is really justs a joke. And what stats can not show were winning percentage while player x is playing is how much it effect how a guy pitches the other players and how others press or do not press because a certin guy is in the line up, those are the things that stats can not show. Which makes it different for Howard and Valdez, because Valdez does not effect the mentality of the other team tha Ryan would have, so please for once take everything into account stats and real life

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL
         
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I believe that Ryan can improve his hitting. He just has to be more selective. He used to look at pitches his first three years and he was a great hitter. That said, I don’t think he will become a better hitter.

    I can’t blame Ruben for signing him for what he did, when he did. The public backlash for letting him walk would have been nothing short of a nuclear disaster.

    A guy on here said that “if you’re not stuck with at least one bad contract, then you’re not trying to win”. I agree.

    At this point, it just looks like the signing didn’t work out. It happens. The reason I am not bashing Amaro is that A) he had to sign him; and B) he had no way of knowing that Ryan would become Gorman Thomas the second the ink was dry on his extension.

    If we could rid ourselves of his contract in a thoughtful and reasonable way, I would be all for it.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I have to agree, mostly.

      And although the signing AT THIS POINT looks like it hasn’t worked out (and so far it hasn’t) one can hope that by some miracle it looks better as the next five years pass. One can hope it becomes only an overpay, and not a gigantic one.

       
  • Posts: 5271 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Where the contract hurts the team most is in the way it affects the man running the ball club on the field. Howard has been “entitled” to swing away because he is the Big Piece. Can you imagine the conversation they have with Charlie if he were to try to platoon Howard? Doesn’t matter that the numbers against left handers are glaringly low, Charlie would never keep his job if he kept Howard on the bench 27% of games.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Howard, while being an enigma, is vital to this team. He does indeed have enormous power. And even if his bat speed slowed, he still pulls a preponderance of pitches. He needs to adjust his stance to use more of the entire field and exercise more plate discipline. Also, he needs to take a day off once in a while. He does wear down and when he does he simply grinds, grinds, grinds. The team, Howard and the bench players would all benefit if Howard played about 140 games next year and sat out against the leagues toughest lefties. He does not hit them anyway.

     
  • Posts: 0 sammyd253

    Plate discipline and where he stands in the batters box is his biggest problem. If he moved up in the box a little bit, he’d be able to reach low and away pitches. If he did this, he would just need to learn how to get his hands through an inside pitch when the pitchers inevitably come back inside on him. Easier said than done, I know. I don’t expect Howard to make an adjustment on this, either.

    Ultimately though, plate discipline seems to be a problem for each and every Phillies player. I still feel that everyone in that lineup is more than capable of destroying any pitcher in the league, they just need to learn how to be patient and hit what is given to them.

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Pat, that’s a nice summary of Howard at the moment, and I agree with everything you said.

    A few observations about his platoon splits:

    1) In 2011 he was exactly the average NL left-handed batter vs. LHPs:

    Ryan Howard vs. LHPs: .224/.286/.347 (.634 OPS)
    Average LHB vs. LHPs: .224/.289/.343 (.632 OPS)

    2) He faced far fewer lefties in 2011 than in previous years. % or PAs against lefties since 2005. Not sure why this is or what it means (perhaps he doesn’t scare managers enough to bring in a LOOGY as often?).

    32%, 38%, 38%, 36%, 35%, 29%

    3) His platoon differential has fluctuated wildly in recent years. Difference in OPS since 2005:

    .621, .242, .246, .222, .434, .051, .287

    Yep, in his rookie year, his OPS was 1.042 vs. RHPs, and .421 vs. LHPs.
    At the other extreme, in 2010 it was smaller than normal for a LHB: .876 vs. .826.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Oops – Michael, that’s a nice summary.

       
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    How many more Wins would we have with Pujols at 1b instead of Howard ?

     
    • Posts: 427 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      Comparing their 2011 BB-Ref WARs, about 3 more wins with Pujols

       
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      In 2011, 2.7 if you believe baseball-reference, 3.5 by fangraphs.

       
      • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        Yet again, depending on what site you look at, the WAR is different. Uh, if this was a good “stat” or number to look at, it would not change. Each site would be able to calculate the number the same way. It just doesn’t happen that way because people can not seem to come up with a standard way across all sites to come up with the arbitrary number. If only we had numbers in baseball which conveys what actually happened. Say like I dont know like a calculation of the number of hits a player has, in proportion to the number of At Bats. Maybe evena number in proportion to the total number times the player was on base overall, taking the first number as well as say maybe walks. That would be great.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        I also wish the two competing ways to calculate WAR would be resolved to eliminate this kind of distraction. But “arbitrary” is the last word I would use to describe either version.

        If someone asked you what the difference is between an MVP-type season and a borderline major leaguer, would you have said 8 wins? I know I would have said more. But the two calculations are close, and the number is meant to be treated as an approximate value, not analyzed to the decimal point.

        Who cares that there is a 0.8 win difference? Publius was right to quote it as “about 3″ since that tells one all you need to know.

        You mention OBP. As you may know, the formula is (H + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + HBP + SF). Placido Polanco has a career OBP of .346.

        Now what if there was a site that calculated OBP by also including sacrifice hits in the denominator (which I don’t agree with but can see why someone would want to include all of a player’s plate appearances)? Polanco’s OBP would then be shown as .342.

        Now would you throw up your hands and say screw this OBP thing it’s useless, people can’t even agree on how to calculate it? Of course not.

        WAR is like a unified theory of baseball value. Of course it doesn’t capture everything that’s important for a baseball player, but it attemps to capture as much of what can be measured as possible. But just because a) you don’t understand how it’s calculated, and b) there are still disagreements that cause small differences, is no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

         
      • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        Just because someone does not agree with you, does not mean the person does not understand it. I understand it perfectly well. I get the point of it by saying a WAR of say 2-4 is an “every day player” or 5-8 is “All-Star” and 8 above is MVP. I can recite the numbers, I can recite the formula, I do understand. You can call me, or insinuate that I am ignorrant or stupid all day long, but all that does is prove your own ignorrange and arrogance. Can you tell me for a 100% certainty that if Ryan Howard did not play at all last season, and everything else stayed the same that the Phillies would have won 99 games? No, you can not. It is impossible to say that. That is why I do not agree with it. You do not need WAR to know a players worth. That is why you look at all the stats, across the board, and evaluate your self. Far too often people just simply say the WAR say 4.5 so he is an All Star. or 2.4 and he is an Every Day starter. I may be able to put some faith in WAR if there was a unified thought process behind it, but there are still multiple way to calculate WAR. In a few years, if the bugs are ironed out, and there is one single “unified” thought process to calculate WAR, I will be more proned to put weight into it. Right now I view it like the first model year a car. I do not buy the first model year of a car until the bugs are ironed out after a few years on the market. I will start to buy into the WAR thing when it has been on the market a few more years, and if a single thought process is decided upon.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Brian Sr – I apologize. I didn’t mean that you didn’t understand it because you’re stupid, but because, like many fans, you handn’t looke into it. The impression I got was that you didn’t know much about it. I was wrong.

        Regarding the “unified thought process” that you are waiting for, I suppose that’s a matter of personal approach or preference. I am ok with a range estimate (Utley was worth 3.5-4.0 wins in 2011) but some people want some more certainty. That’s understandable.

         
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    so the very best player in baseball is worth a 3 more wins per season …..

    but to have him on your team it would take 10 years/ $250 M instead of 5 years/ $125 M

    I understand that those 3 wins can be the difference between playoffs or not … homefield or not, etc …

    but that hasn’t been the case in the past few years – and I would imagine the Phillies are the heavy favorite again in the NL next year??

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I can’t access betting sites, but I understand that since the WS ended, they’ve been the favorite to win the 2012 WS.

       
  • Posts: 0 George

    “What you think of Howard depends on how easily you can separate him from his contract.”

    In giving a 4.8 rating to a guy who produces, even if mostly against righthanders, Bauman has proven that he cannot do that separation. His entire writeup is just a more literate version of something posted by Andrew from Waldorf.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryan H

      yep. hate hate hate.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ajay

    Didn’t Howard led the Phillies in pitches-taken last year? I don’t know that he’s impatient, but rather that he’s swinging at the wrong pitches.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ajay

    Didn’t Howard lead the Phillies in pitches-taken last year? I don’t know that he’s impatient, but rather that he’s swinging at the wrong pitches.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      i agree ajay i say he’s impatient and swinging at the wrong pitches! the same with rollins when they’re patient they’re dangerous! the year rollins was mvp it was the most patient i’ve ever seen him his entire career! he crushed the ball and hit close to .300 the same with howard since he won that HR derby at the allstar game he has’nt been as patient. you would think that the hitting coach or the self proclaimed guru would have noticed

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Noticing it, Attempting it, and Executing it are on 3 separate continents.

         
  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    maybe we give Amaro less credit than he deserves. my point being if he didn’t sign him to an extention all three of them would be FA’s howard fielder and puhols. can you imagine that fiasco on the market? the jury’ still out on fielder. now not knowing that howards numbers would have shifted lower when he signed the extension, like someone said earlier can you imagine the flack RAJ would have got if howard became a free agent? whew! we’d be on his you know what! and again if his numbers were consistant with what they were, you can only imagine ( puhols) the contract we’d be looking at now. so if the injury did have something to do with his dropoff and he heals up and puts up simular numbers as before then we have a bargain contract for the next 5 years. plus with that said he’d be more tradable with a lower contract than the other two, in say the 3rd or 4th year, when the club starts to really move younger. right now i give rube the benifit of the doubt. i think he has a long term plan!

     
    • Posts: 427 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      Howard would be limping on the free-agency market with one of his worst seasons statistically and a crippling weakness against lefties. Rather than Pujols/Fielder money he would be looking more at Carlos Pena/David Ortiz money. Rube would probably overpay for him to the tune of ~$17mil AAV over 3 or 4 years, which would still give the Phils an additional $8mil to play with this offseason, allowing us to net someone like Aramis or using those funds for a Hamels extension.

      We are definitely not giving Rube less credit than he deserves. He deserves all the ire he gets because he’s impatient and cannot play the market right at all (the Rollins signing aside)

       
      • Posts: 1190 Manny

        Avatar of Manny

        ^What Publius said.

         
  • Posts: 0 Keystone

    So while we crucify Ryan for his lack of hitting same handed pitching let me just point out that Chase Utley hit lefties last year at a worse clip than Ryan.
    Ryan Howard 2011 170AB .224/.286/.347/.634
    Chase Utley 2011 107AB .187/.298/.308/.607

    Again I know this gets to the point of the article where we tend to grade Ryan harsher because of the money he makes.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I would say the jury is out on Utley and lefties, for a couple of reasons:

      1) The poor performance vs. LHPs in 2011 came out of the blue. There has not been any kind of steady decline over time. Here is his OPS vs. lefties since 2005:

      .817, .857, .927, .888, .962, 1.003, .607

      2) He had an extraordinarily low BABIP vs. lefties in 2011: .217, compared to his career average of .315 vs LHPs. He did hit fewer fly balls, but his line drive rate was not significantly below what it’s been.

      link: http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=1679&position=2B&season=0

       
  • Posts: 19 Moondog

    Avatar of Moondog

    You can’t be serious bringing up McNabb and Abreu.when talking about Howard. There are way too many Met trolls on this site. Get serious and no more sabremetrics BS. Watch the games.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      So we should continue to watch the games, but stop trying to understand why things happen — it’s all part of the beauty and mystery of the game.

      Trust me, stats help, but there is still plenty of mystery there, and the beauty is undiminished. If you’d like any sabre-talk translated to English, please ask. You might not like what you hear and choose to ignore it (no problem), and there is a chance you might learn something new.

       
    • Posts: 427 Publius

      Avatar of Publius

      If we all watch the same game, we will all come away with diffferent interpretations, all guided by our inherent biases. If Howard goes 1-4 with a homer and 3Ks, his defenders will laud the homers and the detractors will condemn the strikeouts. Stats help us overcome these biases. By asking us to ignore the SABRmetrics, you’re asking us to simply rely on our inherently flawed, human analyses and making us dumber as a fanbase.

       
      • Posts: 5271 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Well stated Pubs, I agree completely. We can enjoy and learn – unless we refuse to.

        Unfortunately, I worry that the Ruben and Charlie don’t wish to learn, that they see things closer to the commenter’s POV than yours.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        Lefty, you worry too much about the management.

         
      • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        By ignoring SABRmetrics, we are dumber as a fan base? LOL. That is an extremely flawed POV, by saying because you believe in an arbitrary number that differs between two sites you are inherently smarter than than those who would rather look at real statistics of what actually happened game in and game out, not just watching the games, but looking at statistics and averages. You do not need SABRmetrics to look at what a player does situationally. Whether it is RISP, or nobody on. You do not need SABRmetrics. arrogance honestly. Thats all that post is.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        B-dog, SABRmetrics are just advanced statistics. So yes, you’re a dumber fan if you ignore statistics, even if they’re a bit more complicated than the ones you’re used to.

        You see, some of the SABR statistics include variables which are quite valuable to a team (fielding, baserunning, etc) but are difficult to measure, so there is going to be a bit of imprecision in those measurements. Think of the WAR disagreements as the error bars in scientific literature. They give you a good approximation of the value of a player, and that approximation is close enough to the real value to give you useful information and make valid comparisons.

         
      • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        Arrogance at its best. LOL. Maybe if you had said less informed, I might be able see a little of your view point, but by calling someone “dumber” because they do not agree with you is arrogance and ignorrance.

         
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        I only said “dumber fan” because those were the words you used in the post to which was replying. It was simply a rhetorical device. Regardless, I stand by it. You’re intentionally ignoring a set of statistics which paints a more complete picture than the ones you’re accustom to and comfortable with, in doing so forcing your opinions to be shaped by incomplete information and biases (The ‘watch the games, bro’ method of player evaluation).

        Nobody said WAR is a perfect measure of a player’s value. We’re just saying it’s much better than the old traditional stats, and is suitable as a tool to evaluate the total value of a player. Your position–as you stated in a previous reply–is that you’re going to essentially ignore WAR until it is “unified.” That’s like saying you’d rather use the 10 year old folded map in your glovebox than use a GPS receiver because civilian and military GPS accuracy readings are different and thus unreliable, even though the rough approximation provided by either is going to be much more informative and accurate than anything your antiquated map can provide.

        Arrogance, perhaps, but justly and in a lighthearted kind of way. Ignorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraarannce, nah.

         
      • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        Eric L, my post which said “dumber fan” comment was based on the original post of “making us dumber as a fanbase.” Not using WAR or SABR metrics at this time, does not make people dumber, as was said in the original post. I do not strictly prescribe to “The ‘watch the games, bro’ method of player evaluation”. When I try to evalaute a players entire body or work, I watch the games, I look at numerous stats, which ironically is all rolled up into the WAR. I do not agree that people do not try to use or argue that WAR is a perfect system. My issue with WAR is that far too many people use it as a perfect, factual “stat”. Maybe the Marlins will prove or disprove that notion in 2012. If you add the WAR of all of the players they picked up and will be healthy that were not in 2011, they should be just about the .500 mark. Interestingly enough, some people prefer WAR, which incorporates the same stats I look at seperately. People use WAR in a vacuum without actually understanding what goes into it, just say “well his WAR was this” type of comment. While I look at them all seperately. It does not make me any dumber (and I agree in light hearted kind of way), but maybe does make me gluten for punishment to scour through different sites and books to determine and find those stats. LOL.

        FYI, “That’s like saying you’d rather use the 10 year old folded map in your glovebox than use a GPS receiver because civilian and military GPS accuracy readings are different and thus unreliable, even though the rough approximation provided by either is going to be much more informative and accurate than anything your antiquated map can provide.”

        Not a completely true statement. I get what you are saying, but that is not completely correct. Even at that same point, by relying strictly on GPS, and not understanding a map, or knowing how to truly read a map, that often makes for less informed people. You need to have the understanding. (Had to say it, because GPS is what I do for a living. LOL).

         
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Out of 33 homers in 2011, only THREE (3!!) were against lefties.

    Enough said.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      The trend is certainly down vs. lefties but I will say that as recently as 2010 he was 4th in MLB with 12. His totals since 2006:

      16, 16, 14, 6, 12, 3

      Since 2006 he’s 2nd:
      1. Pujols 70
      2. Howard 67
      3. Teixeira 59

       
  • Posts: 1004 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I can not even read any of the comments before I post this, I am not the biggest Ryan backer in my family much less on this site. But to call him just pretty good, even after the first paragargh about how Philly fans can not see really good to great when it is in front of them. Really just pretty good, his defense has improved over the years, his throwing to second is still under par but his ability to get to foul balls and make plays on throws to him have improved. And I am sorry that I still look at classic stats a guy who hits 35-40 HRs and 130-145 RBIs a year I think is more then just pretty good. And when he is on he can and has carried this team. The same people who base him for only haveing so many RBI is because he has so many more opportunites to on this team, bash him for not having any in 2010 playoffs dispite having one of the highest BA and hits in those playoffs, which means he just did not have the people on base to drive in. I am really getting tired of the bashing of on of the top five power hitters in the game that every one realizes except for the phans in Philly. And for the shere fact that he got hurt on his last swing of the year tells you he was playing on one leg for a while. Oh what he should have said something and taken himself out of games so he would have been healthy at the end of the year, no wait then he would be a cry baby that can not play with pain. The guy just can not win. Please do not act like you all did that were alive at the time to MIke Schmidt who is arguably the best third baseman of all time, but never appreciated until year after he was gone. Howard is a special talent and arguably the best first basemen in Phillies history, can we please enjoy him while he is here

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      It’s a Bauman rating; you have to expect contradictions and lack of partiallity couched in big words, bad analogies, “clever” allusions, and a smug attitude..

       
  • Posts: 161 therookie300

    Avatar of therookie300

    Don’t mean to bring up football here, but Howard is our McNabb. The guy has done many good things here yet people seem to think the flaws outweigh any good. I guess you make the most money, you take the most heat I guess. We don’t really know what his value would have been on the open market this year. Maybe if this was a walk year for him he might have had one of those crazy “contract years”. I think RAJ was trying to beat the market when he signed Ryan. He also might have driven two other enemy hitters out of the NL. I will wait to judge this contract when it actually starts.

     
    • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      Had he signed Howard to a 5 year deal effective immediately, rather than a year and half later, I dont think as many people would have such heartburn over the deal. The years and money was one thing. I was a definitive change of pace in the last few years for the Phillies to actually payto keep players around. Still, had the contract at least started the beginning of 2011, we would be talking 4 more years rather than 5. The years and money was one thing, but when it started IMO threw the contract to another level.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Howard has been cursed in the fact they he had a stellar first few years accompanied by a steady drop off in performance. The drop off accompanied by a ginormous salary. The result is overpayment for underperformance. Is he still a good slugger? Yes. But we saw the best of Howard and for some reason he has devolved into a lesser player, and for no discernable reason other than stubborness. In America, if you ask for or get a big raise and your performance drops at the same time, you gotta take a lotta crap. This is all exacerbated by the fact that his problems seem to be easy fixes: stop swinging at slop and take more pitches which means you’ll get more pitches to hit. I don’t know if its that easy.

    Bottom line: If you you are going to take big money, play like big money. Especially in Philly. And Howard hasn’t done it.

    Still hoping.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 3014 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    “Howard is our McNabb” ??? ….. Yeah…..except that Ryan Howard has a ring, Donovan McNabb does not.

    And I would agree that a 4.8 is a terrible rating for Howard for all the reasons stated by some of my fellow commentors above….but also understand that the author is Michael Baumann…so I would expect nothing more.

    I also think that we need to wait just a bit until we REALLY judge this contract. 2012 is Year One of the Extension….and while it will be a bad start because of surgery rehab, I don’t think you can accurately place a value or grade on it just yet. Not saying that that Ryan is going to magically turn into 2006 Ryan again…..

    …… as of now I think I’d rather have Howard at 5/125 than Pujols at 10/254…. 3 wins more per year or not.

    ————-

    And to just back up to a previous thread concerning the suggestion of J-Roll moving to 3rd base, possibly in 2013 when Galvis is ready (??). I have tooted that horn before as well. I would imagine that as Jimmy moves through his contract and towards the final chapter of his career that he would be more open to it. Of course, if the Phillies could get David Wright after this season….. ????

     
    • Posts: 576 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      I agree, but at the same time, my problem resides not in his decline, but the fact that this is in fact “Year One of the Extension”, even though it was inked in April of 2010. Had it become effective immediately, we would be talking about a player who signed an insane contract who hat already played 2 years of it (2010 and 2011) and only had 3 years left with a bum ankle. Instead we are talking about a player who still has 5 full more years at the increased amount on a bum ankle. I am not a fan of signing players to contracts that do not begin for years after the fact.

       
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    I stopped defending Howard after that swing he took with a 3-0 count, when we needed a damn baserunner, losing by 1 run in the late innings against the Cardinals.

     
    • Posts: 5271 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      And he was the leadoff hitter in the inning. We really needed a baserunner there. The only problem I have with blaming Howard is that his manager and coaches give him a perpetual green light, he should be smarter, but it’s not entirely his fault.

       
      • Posts: 2071 Brooks

        Avatar of Brooks

        200% in agreement Lefty – I mostly blame the management and it all boils down to Cholly.
        As much as we have loved him for brining this town a championship, he needs to shake it up and he is capable of doing that. He needs to get his guys running, moving other runners over and making our big man hit to the right side –
        This is leadership.

         
  • Posts: 0 mic

    Howard would see better pitches and have better results if the Phils 3 and 5 hitters picked it up–until Pence came along last year he had nothing around him—he had to do it himself

     
  • Posts: 0 Billy Beane

    Even I’m amazed at all this stats talk. All players have flaws. Ryan Howard is top 5 at his position in the NL, and he’s paid appropriately for his skill set and his production.

     
    • Posts: 0 Don M

      hahaha well played, whoever you are!!

       
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    This is why its the worst contract in sports.
    Bar none.

    The SF Giants take Zito and rowand and bench them. They are horribly over paid and suck but they just drop them from reality.

    This team will continue to hit this stiff 4th.
    left hander? He hits 4th

    Arthur Rhodes late in a game? 3 pitches?
    He swings away.

    Its no longer that he sucks and youd pay 22 million of the 25 for him to go someplace else.
    Its that you guys still think hes top 5 and hes swiniging away.

    He hits 4th even if its a .313 slugging pct vs lefties.

    Its all horrible. But you the tards compund it and celebrate it.
    In a way you and RAJ deserve to lose in round 1 to teams with disgraceful bullpens.
    This is what you want.

    Donny Moron should be GM he could not be worse
    Seriously

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Top 5

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLOLOL

    Only loses with a historical pitching staff in round 1.

    He is top 5 and has a ring.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOL

    Donny tell them how great they all are.
    Laughable but thats why I come here.
    So Donny Moron can do novels on spelling and grammar
    While at the same time talking about a top 5 line up and hitter.

    They lost to another inferior team.
    When they dont make the playoffs. They are still the best.
    Top 5

    Those inferior teams win sometimes. Law of averages.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Careful there — don’t hurt your laughbox. Or maybe it’s just your fingers.

      On second thought, go right ahead. Here’s some more fodder for you (stats since 2008)…

      1) Howard’s MLB rank vs. LHPs only

      - HRs: 7th
      - RBIs: 2nd

      2) Howard’s MLB rank vs. all pitchers

      - % of runners driven in: Howard – 2nd

       
      • Posts: 0 Don M

        its useless …. the dude hasnt said anything related to baseball since July ….

        he comes on here to LOLOLOLOLOLOL … which is pretty cool

        and don’t bother asking him what moves HE would make, or what players HE likes … LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

         
  • Posts: 0 George

    AFW once cited that over quoted remark about insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. His constant LOLs would indicate to a sane person that he is using that very approach: repeating and repeating the same actions that annoy everybody, but expecting to win friends and influence people.

     
 
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