Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baer: Do Sunnier Skies Await Ryan Howard?

or does the gang find a dead guy?

There are ways to utilize Howard to get the most out of his pros, however. As mentioned here in recent months, platooning Howard at first base with a right-handed hitter such as John Mayberry or Darin Ruf would have the dual benefit of replacing Howard’s weak bat against southpaws with an above-average bat while also giving the aging, injury-prone slugger a day off every so often. Left-handed pitchers only accounted for 29 percent of all plate appearances in 2012, so it isn’t as if Howard would play in only 81 games — 115-125 would be a more realistic number. If a first base platoon isn’t attractive to manager Charlie Manuel, then Howard should have a short leash past the halfway point in the game: if the Phillies are facing a team with a lefty-heavy bullpen, or Howard reaches base, then he should be replaced by a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner as necessary.

Howard had the platoon advantage in 64 percent of his plate appearances last year. Imagine if that number shot up closer to, for example, Eric Chavez, the left-handed side of a platoon at third base with the New York Yankees last season (87.5 percent). If Howard plays in 115 games and has the platoon advantage in 85 percent of his 400 or so plate appearances (340), his offensive value changes as follows, assuming his average since 2010 in each match-up (.370 wOBA vs. RHP; .310 vs. LHP)…

...No matter what, though, Howard should improve on his .219/.295/.423 triple-slash line from 2012. An off-season of rest can only help and the Phillies should be expected to keep a watchful eye on him, preventing him from overexerting himself. Regaining some strength from a healthier lower half will do wonders just in making contact alone — his .287 BABIP and .204 ISO last season (previously found between .300-.330 and .225-.235, respectively) indicated that he was making uncharacteristically weak contact.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4346644)
I always hate when they call it a "triple slash" line. There are only two slashes in that display. It's just the player's "slash line" or "slash stats."
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4346645)
Anyone watch a lot of Phillies? Is Howard's D as bad as the numbers say?

If it is (-10-12 runs/150) then he's a platoon DH, and not a very good one.
   3. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4346649)
If it is (-10-12 runs/150) then he's a platoon DH, and not a very good one.


He's not a great defender by any means. And yeah, he's pretty much a platoon DH playing 1B in the NL, for asstons of cash.
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4346658)
snapper, my eyes say he improved from when he first came up. I see below average range, but that he improved "catchability" to near average, both on batted and thrown balls.
He is a historically bad thrower. He has a looonnngg windup** and slingshots the ball almost like a LOOGY but to an indefinite target.

** By the time Howard releases the ball, a picked-off runner is going into his slide at 2B. Well, maybe I exaggerate, but not by much.

EDIT: He was hobbled last year and his D was worse than ever. Assuming he's healthy in 2013, I expect a slight decrease frp, 2010/11 due to age. What an Albatrossian signing by Amaro.
   5. Sean Forman Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4346683)
He is a really, really, really bad thrower. To the extent that I'm surprised whenever he records an assist (other than 1-3 plays).
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4346698)
I'm surprised whenever he records an assist (other than 1-3 plays).


If Ryan Howard records an assist on a 1-3 play you should be REALLY surprised :-)
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4346705)
Love this comment.

If 1 win is the result, is that worth it? He is the only guy in the lineup that a pither would be afraid to make a mistake.[/quote

Do pitchers prefer to face tougher outs with less power, or easy outs with mistake power?

And do we poll opposing pitchers before setting lineups?
   8. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4346718)
2010-2012 Ryan Howard is 16th among 1Bs and DHs in WAR batting runs (BBREF)
and he's do 25 mil per the next few years

2010-2012 not fair?
2009-2011, he was 10th

2010-2012, he's hit like Ike Davis, and Ike is 7 years younger and a vastly better defender.

Ike's not a star and he's never gonna be one of the 10 highest paid players in the game.

I know Phils Phans, they have worshiped Howard, they would have sent death threats to the front office if Howard had not been signed to an extension... but the Phans/Howard relationship is not going to end well, he'll be public enemy number 1 in Philly before that contract ends.





   9. zonk Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4346730)
However much it might make sense -- I have awfully hard time seeing any player with that many years left on that big a contract becoming a platoon player.

The player won't want to do it, and management would take a beating for it.

   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4346736)
#8, as long as Howard gets the RBIzzz, the phans will be fine. Howard hits better with runners on because the shift is modified or taken away, so I expect him to be a "run producer", as the modern parlance goes.
   11. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4346741)
I always hate when they call it a "triple slash" line. There are only two slashes in that display. It's just the player's "slash line" or "slash stats."

Really? That's an awfully minor thing to get worked up over.
   12. cmd600 Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4346790)
I have awfully hard time seeing any player with that many years left on that big a contract becoming a platoon player.


Absolutely agree, but what exactly do you do? Even if you're quick to sub for him when it gets to the matchup part of the game, too many people still think (as referenced above) that his ability to put one out of the park makes him invaluable late in the game.
   13. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4346796)
Anyone watch a lot of Phillies? Is Howard's D as bad as the numbers say?


When Jim Thome was the Phillies' firstbaseman and Howard was a hot shot minor leaguer, they tried Howard in left field in spring training to see if they could get his bat in the lineup. They quietly dropped the idea after about five minutes. This is a franchise that has won with Greg Luzinski, Lonnie Smith, Pete Incaviglia and, recently, Raul Ibanez out there. How bad must Howard have looked? The mind boggles.
   14. depletion Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4346800)
Trade ARod for Howard. DH Howard. Even if he hits .150 against lefties he'll get lots of HR in NYS.
   15. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4346806)
However much it might make sense -- I have awfully hard time seeing any player with that many years left on that big a contract becoming a platoon player.

The player won't want to do it, and management would take a beating for it.


Paying someone $25M to actively hurt your team versus left handed pitchers doesn't make sense.

Howard has zero leverage and 25M reasons to go along with it.

But you are exactly right that it won't happen. A new GM could make this decision, and blame it on Ruben Amaro, but it's really hard for the same GM who gave Howard this massive deal to tacitly admit it was a mistake. If Ruben was smart, he would say he's doing it solely to ensure Ryan's surgically repaired leg gets lots of rest to avoid a re-injury, but I refer back to the contract he gave Howard for the answer to whether he's smart.
   16. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4346809)
Can someone remind me the zeitgeist behind the Howard extension? Why was he held in such high esteem? Was it because of the "rookie shine", even though ht was a 25-year old rookie? Part of my motivation is trying to understand how he'll compare to Joey Votto, who has a similar (maybe worse?) contract. They both won MVPs with great-hitting seasons at 26 -- though it looks like Votto has done a better job of maintaining his OBP. Though some of last year's OBP may come from laying off pitches he couldn't drive due to his injury, and pitchers not catching up yet, as is often seen with aging hitters.

My crude, crude theory for hitters is a notion of symmetry around age 30 -- if you're good enough to play in the majors at 20, there's a good chance you're good to play when 40. If you're only good enough to play at age 25, I'm not betting anything on your 35+ seasons. Maybe that line should be at 28 or 29 (which makes Votto and Howard look even worse...) but you get the idea.

Edit: it also looks like Votto hasn't shown as dramatic of platoon splits, but maybe that shows up more in an age-30ish decline he hasn't hit yet?
   17. Toolsy McClutch Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4346819)
If I'm not mistaken, Votto has outperformed Howard every year comparing age seasons. And that's just with the bat, add in defense and baserunning and it's a landslide, no?
   18. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4346823)
Votto's defense has improved substantially in the past few years. I feel pretty comfortable saying that Votto is 1-1.5 wins/yr better than Howard with the glove. Votto also hits for average better than Howard does. I think those are just a couple reasons that Votto will age better than Howard has. Votto's OPS+ (163) over the past four seasons is about what Howard's career high (167) in 2006 was. Thus, Votto is simply a better hitter than Howard was, doesn't struggle against lefties yet, and has better young player skills (average, defense).
   19. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4346826)
Can someone remind me the zeitgeist behind the Howard extension? Why was he held in such high esteem? Was it because of the "rookie shine", even though ht was a 25-year old rookie?

Like [10] says, count the RBIzzz. Great offense, park, and everything, but the man did drive in 572 runs from 2006-2009. He signed the extension the following April.

Howard was also coming off of a very high salary baseline. He won his Super 2 arb for 10MM, which was shocking at the time. He later signed a three-year deal buying out his arb years, getting 20MM for the final arb year. So even if he's not worth 25MM, Howard clearly wasn't going to sign away any FA years unless he was getting a raise. Obviously wasn't smart for the Phillies to go along with that, but that was the cost. And since that team prints money, they weren't concerned with overpaying for a likable, home-grown guy.
   20. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4346827)
Can someone remind me the zeitgeist behind the Howard extension?


1: He is one of those guys who non-Sabrites overrate
2: Even among guys who are overrated by non-statheads, he is REALLY overrated
3: His team's fanbase adores him, sees him as the main reason they got over the hump and won it all, and he was consequently seen as the "face" of the franchise, the one truly indispensible player.

Once upon a time you could say the same thing about Nomar and Boston- except that pre-injury Nomar was a superior player to Ryan Howard- those Sox realized that extending Nomar on the terms he wanted was a bad idea, so they didn't do it (they also may have deliberately tried to sabotage Nomar's standing with the fanbase in order to ease the Sox fans' acceptance of the loss of Nomar)

In the end it's just a bad contract, the Phils have revenue, it won't kill them- unless of course it ends up being representative of a systemic mis-evaluation of talent by the front office.
   21. ColonelTom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4346831)
snapper, my eyes say he improved from when he first came up. I see below average range, but that he improved "catchability" to near average, both on batted and thrown balls.


Having watched a ton of Howard's games, I concur. He has worked very hard on his defense and was approaching decent, at least via the eyeball test, before the injury. Last year he moved as if he had a cement block tied to his left foot, so I'm not sure his 2012 UZR/150 has much predictive value if he's healthy this year. (That's a big if, though.)

I have awfully hard time seeing any player with that many years left on that big a contract becoming a platoon player.


Cholly won't call it a straight-up platoon, but it shouldn't be hard for him to justify a de facto platoon by saying that Howard will (1) get a lot more rest than the average player and (2) get that rest most often when a lefty is on the mound.

Can someone remind me the zeitgeist behind the Howard extension? Why was he held in such high esteem? Was it because of the "rookie shine", even though ht was a 25-year old rookie?


Ruben Amaro Jr. still has a player's mentality, and he's convinced that key guys won't be able to give 100% if they're worried about their next contract. He guaranteed J-Roll's 2011 team option in April 2010, a move that can't be explained any other way.

Also, Howard and Pujols were scheduled to hit free agency at the same time. Howard's from St. Louis and the Phils were worried that if he hit free agency, he'd end up there as Pujols' replacement.
   22. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4346871)
Also, Howard and Pujols were scheduled to hit free agency at the same time. Howard's from St. Louis and the Phils were worried that if he hit free agency, he'd end up there as Pujols' replacement.
Which, as it turns out, would have been great for Philly.
   23. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4346884)
Howard's from St. Louis and the Phils were worried that if he hit free agency, he'd end up there as Pujols' replacement.


The Cardinals already had Pujols replacement in hand, were going to pay him 1/10th (or less) than they would Howard, and likely knew that said replacement's production was going to be equivalent if not better than Howard's. Howard was never going to end up in Saint Louie


   24. ColonelTom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4346899)
and likely knew that said replacement's production was going to be equivalent if not better than Howard's.


Now that's absurd. At the time he signed his extension (April 2010), Howard was coming off his fourth straight top-5 MVP finish with a .279/.360/.571 slash line, 45 HR, and 141 RBI. Allen Craig was a well-regarded minor-league hitter, but he was a 3-star prospect on Baseball Prospectus's 2010 rankings and a B- according to John Sickels.

I'm not defending the extension, mind you, but let's not rewrite history.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4346906)
Having watched a ton of Howard's games, I concur. He has worked very hard on his defense and was approaching decent, at least via the eyeball test, before the injury. Last year he moved as if he had a cement block tied to his left foot, so I'm not sure his 2012 UZR/150 has much predictive value if he's healthy this year. (That's a big if, though.)

B-Ref has him equally bad in 2010-11; about -12/150 consistently across '10, '11 and '12. UZR has him awful in '10 (-12/150), fair in '11 (-5/150) and awful last year (-15/150).

Fangraphs also has his baserunning as ghastly (~-8/150), while BRef had him much better (~-3).
   26. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4346911)
The Howard extension was silly though as the Phils did it 2-3 years before they had to. Given his age and size there seemed no reason to be in a hurry. Pretty much everybody here called it a bad contract immediately.

On platooning: I don't necessarily like the way the article portrays it (platoon him and his stats get better) because that's essentially superficial improvement with no guaranteed actual improvement for the team. But the way to think about it is that (virtually) all the value that Howard does provide to your team, he provides vs. RHP. In that sense, his production is the same whether you platoon him or not. You're paying $25 M for the same value in both situations. Hopefully the platoon partners outhit him vs. LHP leading to an overall increase. I'm not sure I'd quite thought of it that way before -- that his value is the same at 450 PA as it is at 650 PA. That's especially true for a defensive and baserunning slug like Howard. The only cost of the platoon is a little less bench flexibility.

And it can be sold to the fans and it's almost certainly going to happen in 2014-15 anyway.

Votto-Howard is not a good comparison. Votto's is better across the board -- BA, walks, running defense. I see he's led the NL in OBP three straight years. Howard in his prime had more power but that's all you can say. And be careful in assessing Howard's walks -- he had massive IBB totals early in his career, ridiculous really, and those fueled those high OBPs. He's still IBB'd a lot but at less than half the rate and his OBP vs. BA differences are now just good, not excellent.

But I wouldn't want that Votto contract. It's insanely long, it has another 11 years to run and goes through his age 39 season. Even Howard's contract has just 4 more years and ends when he's 36. Howard's extension was one of the first "double dip" contracts -- buyout stars' arb and 1-2 FA years; then extend early through age 35-36 -- he was just the wrong guy to do it for. Votto's lifetime contract is presumably an overreaction to the "certainty" that he was going to test the FA market after this year. Cincy wanted to keep their star and were willing to go 3 extra years to do it.

In defense of the Votto contract I can only say that it doesn't get really expensive until 2018 (age 34) by which time maybe $25 M won't be really expensive so possibly it will be movable. They should get nice value out of Votto until then.

I offer no defense of the Howard contract.
   27. smileyy Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4346919)
To everyone analyzing Votto -- thanks for the insight. I think OBP is one thing I overlooked. I recalled Howard's splendid OBP seasons, but didn't realize that those were more anomaly than trend.
   28. ColonelTom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4346920)
The Howard extension was silly though as the Phils did it 2-3 years before they had to. Given his age and size there seemed no reason to be in a hurry. Pretty much everybody here called it a bad contract immediately.


That's the big problem - the Phils jumped way earlier than they needed to, particularly since they weren't getting a discount.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4346922)
On platooning: I don't necessarily like the way the article portrays it (platoon him and his stats get better) because that's essentially superficial improvement with no guaranteed actual improvement for the team.

True, but they should be able to find a very good platoon parther. There are a lot of RHB who can mash LHP. If you play DMB, you'll know those guys are everywhere.
   30. jdennis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4346928)
the fielding descriptions in the earlier comments remind me of frank thomas. "he can pick it now, but he has no range and throws like a five year old girl." exactly the same as frank.

anyhoo, given his age and weight, it seems like he's going to hit .240 for as long as he hangs around. he might get ditched before the contract is up. it depends on what he's willing to do. is he frank and not willing to platoon for less or is he thome and totally doesn't care about going through a long decline as a backup.
   31. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4346950)
True, but they should be able to find a very good platoon parther.

On staff, John Mayberry, Jr.
   32. ColonelTom Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4346952)
Or Darin Ruf.
   33. Toolsy McClutch Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4346991)
I don't want to come off as anti-Howard. I think the baserunning and D issues are overstated - I'd love him on my team for reasonable dollars for reasonable years. And I think/hope he'll bounce back in a big way.

That said, I struggle with what I'd feel comfortable paying him. 4 years, $50 million? That probably wouldn't cut it on the open market, his resume alone would probably get him close to 4/80.
   34. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4346994)
Votto-Howard is not a good comparison. Votto's is better across the board -- BA, walks, running defense. I see he's led the NL in OBP three straight years. Howard in his prime had more power but that's all you can say. And be careful in assessing Howard's walks -- he had massive IBB totals early in his career, ridiculous really, and those fueled those high OBPs. He's still IBB'd a lot but at less than half the rate and his OBP vs. BA differences are now just good, not excellent.


A few years ago I posted on a thread (not here) the observation that if you too away IBBs that Howard had the same K/BB/PAs rates (more or less) as Cecil Fielder, and then used BBREFS' park neutralized function, Fielder circa 1990-92 was dead ringer for Howard (around 2006-08)

that brought the Phanboys out howling for blood- but what struck me were not objections to park adjusting Howard vs. Fielder, it was the idea of pulling out IBBs- I said I did it to compare Fielder's eye/bat control versus Howard - but nonetheless that really got some people nuts - they saw 100+ BBs and in their mind that meant Howard = Ted Williams/Frank Thomas*- pointing out that his plate disciple was not remotely in that league angered them more than the Howard/Fielder comp (which by itself did not seem to bother the Phans too much...


*Who am I kidding, phans wanted Howard to be Mike Schmidt with a higher batting average- so badly that in their minds he was (.313 in 2006 you know, had some phans convinced that Howard was a true .300 hitter for YEARS) and discouraging words were not treated too kindly
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4347023)
I don't want to come off as anti-Howard. I think the baserunning and D issues are overstated - I'd love him on my team for reasonable dollars for reasonable years. And I think/hope he'll bounce back in a big way.

That said, I struggle with what I'd feel comfortable paying him. 4 years, $50 million? That probably wouldn't cut it on the open market, his resume alone would probably get him close to 4/80.


I think you're still grossly over-rating him.

His lats three year have featured wRC+ of 127, 124 and 87, with execrable defense and baserunning. Even if he fully recovers to 2010-11 levels, he's an average player at best.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4347076)
True, but they should be able to find a very good platoon parther.

Agreed. I was just saying you sell that not by saying "his stats will look better" (which is probably not what the author really meant, just how it came off). Instead say "you get the same value in 450 PA and then you can do better with the lefty masher in the other 200" or, more simply but more mathy, say "in a platoon, you'd expect your 1B position to hit xxx/xxx/xxx compared to a full-time Howard at yyy/yyy/yyy."

I think you're still grossly over-rating him.

Well, I assume #33 is ignoring 2012 as an injury year so that 87 WRC+ doesn't count. 2009-11 he had 8.6 oWAR but a good chunk was 2009. Call him a slightly above-average offensive player (running and DP included) for a 1B. That makes him Mike Morse or Adam LaRoche give or take. Morse is apparently a bit of a hot property at the moment at $6.5 M and LaRoche just got 2/$24 at the same age as Howard. If you completely ignore LaRoche's injured 2011, he's had 5.3 oWAR and 6.9 WAR in his 3 "seasons" (i.e. 09, 10 and 12). That's a lot less oWAR but 1.4 more WAR than Howard 2009-11. Call it a draw ... and Howard looks more attractive to an AL team than an NL team of course.

But were he on the open market, there's no reason to simply assume he will come back strong from the injury. Hard to see him getting a much better contract than LaRoche, star-studded history or not.

OK, one "defense" of the Howard extension -- the Phils were being no dumber than the writers. In his first 5 seasons, Howard had an RoY, an MVP, and a 2nd, 3rd and 5th place MVP finish. There were a lot of people who considered him the second best hitter to Albert.

By the way, I have to give Howard his due. I didn't think there was any way he would be able to sustain his early career on-contact numbers. And of course he hasn't but his career on-contact stats are still an awesome 400/813. That is Babe Ruth territory although he will probably have fallen back to Jim Thome or Russ Branyan territory by the time he's done. The one K every 3 AB is what hurts.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4347081)
But were he on the open market, there's no reason to simply assume he will come back strong from the injury. Hard to see him getting a much better contract than LaRoche, star-studded history or not.

LaRoche is exactly the contract I was thinking of.
   38. vivaelpujols Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4347090)
I believe that Howard will see many sunny skies when his albatross contract is traded to the Dodgers in a year.
   39. vivaelpujols Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4347099)
Howard in his prime had more power but that's all you can say


The cool thing about Howard is that he has the highest career HR/FB rate of any player since 2002 (there is no data on pre-2002 players). 2002 was about the end of the steroid era and I'm comfortable saying that from 2002 on was the second highest stretch of home runs. Since he strikes out so much, I'm guessing Howard also has the highest HR/fair contact ratio. So his pure power is pretty much inner circle. Obviously he is much worse than Votto overall.
   40. Austin Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4347176)
The fan sentiment about Howard isn't completely unwarranted, because he's consistently hit much better in the clutch (which, as #10 alludes to, may be the result of the defense being unable to shift like they want when runners are on base). Yeah, everyone hits better with runners on, but for Howard the difference is fairly stark. For his career, by wRC+:

Low leverage/medium leverage/high leverage: 120/135/167
Bases empty/runners on base/runners in scoring position: 121/142/136

FanGraphs calculates that this has made him worth about four wins more than his WAR would indicate (i.e. about half a win per 600 PA), which sounds entirely plausible to me - I actually would have guessed more. The extension was a terrible idea regardless, but his performance hasn't been quite as bad as we've made it out to be.
   41. Baldrick Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:17 AM (#4347223)
Now that's absurd. At the time he signed his extension (April 2010), Howard was coming off his fourth straight top-5 MVP finish with a .279/.360/.571 slash line, 45 HR, and 141 RBI. Allen Craig was a well-regarded minor-league hitter, but he was a 3-star prospect on Baseball Prospectus's 2010 rankings and a B- according to John Sickels.

Over the previous three seasons, his BB-Ref WAR was 2.8, 1.5, 3.5. That's an average of 2.6.

I'm not saying WAR is the end-all and be-all of analysis, but as a starting point for conversation, it's just not that hard to find a 2.6 WAR first baseman. And that's assuming no decline, which was pretty clearly an unreasonable assumption.

I'm not saying Allen Craig circa April 2010 was a budding star or anything. I'm just saying it was crystal clear that Howard was going to be an albatross and ANY kind of decent/cheap in-house option was going to be better.
   42. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:32 AM (#4347305)
but he was a 3-star prospect on Baseball Prospectus's 2010 rankings and a B- according to John Sickels.


And then barely a year later, Craig (and his pet tortoise) played a large part in the 2011 STL world series championship. Which was glorious.

Hopefully, that caused BP and John Sickels to rethink some things.
   43. steagles Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:36 AM (#4347310)
there were two miscalculations. 1, the phillies valued howard as an elite player, but he (apparently) isn't one. and 2, he was paid 2 years before he actually needed to be.


however, as was pointed out above, the super 2 thing really screwed up his salary progression. if he'd have lost that arbitration hearing, he'd have had a salary progression of something like 7/11/15/15/15 going into his current contract instead of the 10/15/19/20/20 that he actually made.

and secondly, the years matter. if you start from the (seemingly wrong) assumption that ryan howard is an elite player, there's a huge difference between 5/125 that he got and the 9/214 that prince fielder got and the 10/250 that pujols got. the phillies paid a premium to lock an elite player up without having to pay him into the next century, and their miscalculation wasn't in the contract itself, but rather it was in their valuation of howard as a player.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4347317)
The cool thing about Howard is that he has the highest career HR/FB rate of any player since 2002 (there is no data on pre-2002 players).

HR/FB goes back to 1988. McGwire (missing his first 2 years) was at 22.5% for his career. Thome is at 19.4 which is ahead of Howard's 18.7. Bautista has been at 21% the last three years.

there's a huge difference between 5/125 that he got and the 9/214 that prince fielder got

Not really. Howard is signed through age 36, Fielder is signed through age 36. From ages 30-36, Howard will earn $164; Fielder will earn $168. The difference is that Fielder was an FA after age 27 and Howard would not have been until 32.
   45. vivaelpujols Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4347322)
HR/FB goes back to 1988. McGwire (missing his first 2 years) was at 22.5% for his career. Thome is at 19.4 which is ahead of Howard's 18.7. Bautista has been at 21% the last three years.


I was looking at FanGraphs. Wow that is a huge discrepancy between BIS and Retrosheet in terms of absolute numbers.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BDC
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(3596 - 2:05pm, Oct 24)
Last: Rickey! trades in sheep and threats

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(55 - 2:04pm, Oct 24)
Last: Monty

NewsblogDid Adam Dunn Ruin Baseball? – The Hardball Times
(22 - 2:01pm, Oct 24)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogHow top World Series players ranked as prospects. | SportsonEarth.com : Jim Callis Article
(6 - 1:58pm, Oct 24)
Last: Topher

NewsblogCurt Schilling not hiding his scars - ESPN Boston
(1 - 1:55pm, Oct 24)
Last: Jim (jimmuscomp)

NewsblogGleeman: Royals may bench Norichika Aoki for Game 3
(23 - 1:55pm, Oct 24)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogBuster Olney on Twitter: "Sources: Manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the Tampa Bay Rays immediately."
(32 - 1:53pm, Oct 24)
Last: Jesse Barfield's Right Arm

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(914 - 1:52pm, Oct 24)
Last: frannyzoo

NewsblogPittsburgh Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow captures Starting Pitcher MiLBY Award | MiLB.com
(1 - 1:33pm, Oct 24)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 3 OMNICHATTER
(13 - 1:29pm, Oct 24)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogWall Street didn't kill sabermetrics - Beyond the Box Score
(4 - 1:28pm, Oct 24)
Last: villageidiom

Newsblog9 reasons Hunter Pence is the most interesting man in the World (Series) | For The Win
(13 - 1:11pm, Oct 24)
Last: bfan

NewsblogKen Rosenthal on Twitter: Rays’ Friedman going to Dodgers. Colletti remaining as senior advisor.
(93 - 12:32pm, Oct 24)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-24-2014
(3 - 12:30pm, Oct 24)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogWhat's Buster Posey's best trait as a catcher? Here's what his pitchers had to say - Giants Extra
(13 - 12:16pm, Oct 24)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Page rendered in 0.6790 seconds
52 querie(s) executed