Following up my post from yesterday, a number of “baseball insiders” from national media have commented on the contract extension of Ryan Howard. I am not going to name names, but I am very disappointed in most of the reactions. A lot of pundits did not have applicable reasoning behind why they think that the Phillies made a poor decision. Moreso, I am definitely disappointed with a certain “insider”‘s professionalism. I believe most of you know who I am talking about, but if you don’t I will hint only this. He actually wrote in his blog that he “laughed” upon hearing about the signing.
To all the writers who think that the Phillies will regret this signing, I present my case. Many of you have gathered a plethera of stats comparing Ryan Howard to a multitude of players in comprable situations. The only flaw with your approach is that Ryan Howard is NOT comprable to ANY player that has or does play this game. Ryan Howard has a playoff pedigree. So to you, I provide the only numbers that need be mentiioned.
- 2005 National League Rookie of the Year
- 2006 National League Most Valuable Player
- 2008 World Series Champion
- 2009 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player
I dare anyone, reporter or not, to find one player with those accomplishments in their first 5 years in the league. So to say that Ryan Howard’s numbers compare to any player is unfair. Many media outlets like to promote Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, etc. None of which have put up the numbers that Ryan Howard has. None of them have accomplished what Ryan Howard has.
Many of you will state that Albert Pujols is a multiple MVP winner. Well Albert Pujols is a hypocrite and needs to check himself. I do not doubt that Mr. Pujols is one of the game’s premier players, but following the 2006 MVP presentation, Mr. Pujols was quoted as questioning how can someone who’s team did not even qualify for postseason play be eligible to win the MVP? First off, he had just won a World Series title. I would imagine that any player would prefer to win a championship than a league most valuable player award. To bring things full circle, in 2007, Mr. Pujols won the NL MVP award, yet his team did not qualify for post season play. How could someone accept an award that he himself stated he should not have been eligible for.
Either you are a sheep and follow suit with other national media or you are just as big a hypocrite as Albert Pujols. Three of the four titles are voted upon by the BBWAA. So I do not understand how you can talk out of both sides of your mouth, stating that Howard is deserving of all these titles, but not the compensaiton that comes with it.
As for the whole debate between which is the best first baseman offensively, I would like for everyone to take a look at the numbers. I’ve taken Albert Pujols out of consideration because no one seriously thinks that he is ever going to leave St. Louis. The remaining two premier names heading into free agency after the 2011 season are Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder. Both are younger than Howard, who would be 31 at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Gonzalez would be 29 and Fielder would be 27. Both of which, as some reporters will say, are past their prime as hitters.
Since the 2006 season, the players stack up like this. I chose 2007-current because Ryan Howard won the NL MVP in 2006. That wouldn’t be fair to compare considering NEITHER of the other two candidates have won the MVP.
- Ryan Howard: 37 HRs 130 RBIs .711 OPS .218 Avg.
- Prince Fielder: 34 HRs 116 RBIs .773 OPS .260 Avg.
- Adrian Gonzalez: 32 HRs 108 RBIS .723 OPS .234 Avg.
If those numbers seem a little off to you, that is because those are purely the numbers versus left handed pitching. I know some of you will want to be quick to point out the number of strike outs. I concede that. Ryan Howard is a strikeout machine. Ryan Howard will continuously be battling Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn for most strikeouts in a season, but strikeouts are irrelevent when it comes to production. An out is an out. Whether you strike out or groundout. Clearly, Ryan Howard has produced more with less success at the plate than either of the other two.
I also would like to point out that outside of 2008, neither Prince Fielder nor Adrian Gonzalez have even played on a team that made the postseason. So if you think by either one of those players going to a contender will help improve their numbers, I would disagree. The more pertinent games played at the end of the season will more likely result in decreasing numbers.