August 31, 2006

Meet Ryan Howard: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard took a different route to becoming a potential MVP candidate, including balancing marching band practice with football practice.

posted by SummersEve to baseball at 06:21 PM - 16 comments

A warm-fuzzy kind of story, but his numbers aren't too shabby either. MVP worthy? Comparable to Pujols? Or Beltran?

posted by SummersEve at 06:30 PM on August 31, 2006

My NL loyalties at the moment are torn between the Reds and the Phillies. He has a great story and I'm enjoying his success.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:39 PM on August 31, 2006

I'm a big fan of the other Ryan Howard. Bizarre tangent, but the two are kind of connected as Ryan Howard (the ball player) played minor league ball in Scranton, PA, the home of Dunder Mifflin, the year before the Office debuted. This piece of totally useless trivia brought to you by SummersEve.

posted by SummersEve at 06:50 PM on August 31, 2006

Joe Sheehan did an analysis at Baseball Prospectus the other day (link here, but I believe it is subscribers only), comparing him specifically to Pujols, Beltran and a stealth candidate, Miguel Cabrera (who is having a sick year as well). His conclusion: Ryan Howard isnt the right answer. Hes one of the ten best hitters in the league, and probably one of the ten best players. Hes not the most valuable first baseman, most valuable Phillie or most valuable guy with ten letters in his name. And no matter what theyre saying on your satellite dish, hes damn sure not the MVP. (For what it's worth -- based on my assessment -- best 1B is Pujols, MVPhillie is Chase Utley and best 10-letter player is David Ortiz) All that said, Howard is a monster and is a huge factor in me being in first place in my NL-only fantasy league as we head to the playoffs. I love him.

posted by holden at 07:24 PM on August 31, 2006

For what it's worth -- based on my assessment -- best 1B is Pujols, MVPhillie is Chase Utley and best 10-letter player is David Ortiz I assume they were talking about NL only, so the other 10-letter candidate was Chase Utley. Howard is great, but Beltran and Pujols are simply better candidates. Toot-my-own-horn moment: *cough*

posted by grum@work at 08:40 PM on August 31, 2006

I assume they were talking about NL only, so the other 10-letter candidate was Chase Utley. Good point. And nice call on Howard having a breakout year.

posted by holden at 10:06 PM on August 31, 2006

As a Mets fan, he's probably the guy who will take the NL MVP Award (as long as the Phil's make the post-season). There's no way to argue against the voters in that case either.

posted by EmpireWF at 11:38 PM on August 31, 2006

As a long time Phillies Phan(sic?) itis always nice when a truly nice guy takes a good award. In the age of Bond-isms and such its nice to hear a nice guy talk about nice things and be a good baseball player. Speak softly and carry a big stick.

posted by GoBirds at 01:49 AM on September 01, 2006

49 dingers helps too...one more....most since Schmidty...awesome

posted by GoBirds at 01:51 AM on September 01, 2006

Interesting link, holden, thanks. If I weren't so cheap, I'd subscribe. I could read the opening of it, a very compelling argument. Also, apologies for leaving out Cabrera, he definitely deserves mention. (I love this clip of him not accepting an IBB. Kids, don't try that at home.) I love watching Chase Utley play, but Ryan Howard is the best Phillie to this point this year. Utley went nuts in July, but came back to earth with a rough August (.246BA, .320OBP, .307 SLG) I'm not very schooled on VORP and WARP. I know what they mean, but I don't have enough experience using them to compare players. For example, do they get skewed by position? Like this case, comapring Utley to Howard, or a 1st baseman to a 2nd baseman? Doesn't that have an effect if one position is strong throughout a league (1B) and the other is pretty weak (2B)? Or is it adjusted? To me, Pujols' most amazing number is simply his 39 strike outs. Howard's inexperience does show in his fielding as he has 14 errors. And I assume that significantly costs him in the sabermetric stats. But boy does he crush the ball. Center field, upper deck at RFK.

posted by SummersEve at 06:32 AM on September 01, 2006

Pujols is simply the best hitter on the planet. Howard, given his age and his astronomical early production could well be a peer of his for some time. But Pujols OBP, OPS, VORP, and Win Shares (not to mention the homers, RBI and average) are just untouchable. He is your NL MVP - even if for some reason of NY inanity Beltran wins it. Howard seems to me to be a third place finisher in this race - but there is little doubt that he'll be in there for years to come. And he seems, well, nice.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:58 AM on September 01, 2006

Pujols...untouchable? There just so happens to be a guy that wears #15 for the New York Mets named Carlos Beltran, has anyone heard of this guy? Beltran is having a great year and his team is in first place. Not only first place but the best win-loss record in the league. I think Pujols just got touched, or is it torched by who else, the New York Mets Carlos Beltran. 2006 NL MVP

posted by BornIcon at 08:14 AM on September 01, 2006

Very compelling argument. He wears 15, and his team is in first place. Whelp, guess that settles that. Howard's actually a couple months older than Pujols. It's easy to forget Pujols is only 26. He would get my vote, though Cabrera is a close second.

posted by SummersEve at 08:37 AM on September 01, 2006

But Pujols OBP, OPS, VORP, and Win Shares (not to mention the homers, RBI and average) are just untouchable. The missed games might hurt Pujols' chances. As well, if they stumble and the Reds pass them for the division title, many voters will (rightly or wrongly) flip their vote to Beltran.

posted by grum@work at 11:28 AM on September 01, 2006

Anyone see Pujols and Howard's 3 HR games? That was an amazing display of power and good hitting. If the Phillies make the playoffs, the Ryan Howard is my MVP. If not, the I think I would give the nod to Albert.

posted by Kendall at 04:48 PM on September 05, 2006

On Monday, Howard led off the bottom of the ninth of a tied ballgame. The Astros intentionally walked him. Of course, when Pat Burrell's protecting you there isn't much incentive... Good column today on Howard chasing 60 homers.

posted by SummersEve at 08:36 AM on September 06, 2006

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