SABR Nerd Calls Ryan Howard Seventh Best Player on the Phillies (NY Times)

Ryan_howard_ny_times
Do me a favor: take a step back from your computer, spread your legs, and punch yourself in the dick as hard as you can.

Feel that?

If you did, then you’re a normal sports fan. If you didn’t, then you’re most likely a SABR nerd living in a faux-reality that completely ignores all human existence.

I’ve had enough of them.

I appreciate advanced stats in sports. In baseball, they’re called sabermetrics. No, children, that’s not a dirty word. It’s not what daddy does to mommy when you sleep. It’s not a sexual maneuver that requires three fingers, two easels, and a yam. No, they're the advanced metrics with which we track baseball performance. You can say it: Say-burrr-met-tricks. SABR for short.

Sabermetrics.

Without going into too much detail, the stats arguably begin somewhere around percentage of ground balls hit and end precisely with the WAR metric, a mythical number that combines several other advanced stats to come up with a player’s true worth in comparison to a “replacement level player.”

Some of the stats provide us with great tools to further understand, and perhaps even predict, the sport of baseball. I’ve used them in posts like this- where I used BABIP (batting average on all balls put into play) to describe why Vance Worley might not be as good as you think. And here- where I used BABIP, ground and fly balls rates, and other performance-based metrics to tell you Cliff Lee would be OK. He wound up giving up only one run in his next five starts. They work.

Sometimes.

Some fans, writers, and other pundits fall into traps when they start using SABR stats to not only explain the game, but also define it. And that’s exactly what often happens with Ryan Howard. And that’s exactly what happened this weekend when Baseball Reference czar Sean Forman, a Philly native, said Howard was the seventh best player… on the Phillies.

[NY Times]

In fact, if we look at a wide array of sabermetric measures, Howard never cracks the top 10 and is typically well down in the pack. And this is just considering hitting. If we combine hitting, defense and base running, WAR (wins above replacement) rated him as the seventh-best player on the Phillies this year.

Entering the weekend, Howard’s on-base percentage was seventh best and his slugging percentage was sixth best among the 10 most common cleanup hitters in the majors. Howard has significantly more outs made than his counterparts because of his low on-base percentage and because he is consistently in the lineup.

 

It gets worse. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk (who I like) called Howard the most overrated player in baseball. Ugh.

Let’s get back to Forman for a second… Like other out-of-touch stat heads, he significantly downplays RBIs, saying specifically, in Howard’s case, that he has many more opportunities (therefore more RBIs) because he plays for the Phillies.

Well, that is true. But he’s as good as – if not better than – his counterparts at making the most of those opportunities.

Using Forman’s own site to look this up, I took Howard’s ability to drive runners in and compared it against the nine National League first basemen with a higher WARs. You’ll see that Howard drives in 19% of all inherited base runners. League average is 15%.

Really, Forman would have only needed to look one column over for this fascinating info. These nerds really do slice stats any way they want:

- Ryan Howard (1.5 WAR) has seen 375 base runners this year. 70 (19%) of them have scored on his plays (not necessarily RBIs).

- Joey Votto (5.7 WAR), the SABR nerds’ masturbatory fantasy: 295 base runners, with 57 (19%) of them scoring.

- Prince Fielder (4.3 WAR): 346 base runners, with 66 (19%) of them scoring.

- Albert Pujols (3.8 WAR): 287 base runners (injury), with 46 (16%) of them scoring.

- Daniel Murphy (3.1 WAR): 342 base runners this year, with 43 (16%) of them scoring.

- Michael Morse (3.0 WAR): He’s having a pretty respectable season: only 247 base runners, with 50 (20%) of them scoring.

[That’s right, to give you an idea of how fucked up the WAR stat is, it ranks Daniel Murphy, Michael Morse (he plays for the Nationals), and Freddie Freeman over Ryan Howard. Murphy and Morse have WARs more than double Howard’s. Nice stat, fucks.]

- Todd Helton (2.8 WAR): 268 base runners, with 50 (15%) scoring.

- Gaby Sanchez (2.5 WAR): 324 base runners, with 49 (15%) scoring. 

- Carlos Lee (2.1 WAR): 351 base runners, with 59 (17%) scoring.

- Freddie Freeman (1.7 WAR): 288 base runners, with 44 (15%) scoring.

[AL: Adrain Gonzalez, the Mexican Jesus: 381 base runners, with 77 of them scoring (20%)]

Out of the nine players supposedly better than Howard in the National League, only one (Morse) is more effective at driving in runners this season. Howard is just as effective as both Fielder and Votto at converting RBI opportunities. Of course, none of this factors in other stats like on-base percentage, fielding, baserunning, etc. But the fact of the matter is, this season and for the last five years, Howard has consistently done his job, which is to produce runs when given the chance. Further, he’s durable, a proven winner (7 HR, 27 RBI, .899 OPS in postseason), and one of the leaders of the Phillies during the greatest era in their history. 

What in the world is overrated about that?

This is what drives me crazy about SABR folks. They'll take their favorite metrics and knock players who don't excel in them. They'll ignore most all common sense.

Need another example? Take a look at this paragraph from the always insufferable Michael Baumann on Phillies Nation (I hate to even give this kid attention):

You’ve no doubt been wondering why I haven’t mentioned Jair Jurrjens Ryan Vogelsong yet. The reason for that is that they have been riding unsustainable waves of batted ball luck and defensive help. These factors are, for all intents and purposes, the reason that Cole Hamels went from toast of the town in 2008 to petulant surfer weirdo in 2009 and back in 2010, then to “My name Ozymandias, King of Kings: look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!” in 2011. They are what differentiates a pitcher’s results (as expressed by ERA) from what results he deserves (FIP and other ERA estimators).

 

Fuck. I want to harm myself… and it's my birthday.

What Baumann's referring to is the below average BABIP (average of balls put in play) for Jurrjens and Vogelsong. He thinks their luck will run out and the average of balls put in play will trend toward .300. That's a completely reasonable assumption… but what he says about Hamels is just flat out wrong. The reason Hamels sucked in 2009 wasn't just because he was unlucky (.321 BABIP). He was admittedly out-of-shape coming into the season, had trouble locating his fastball, and had yet to develop his cutter and curve. That's why he wasn't good in 2009. It wasn't because he was unlucky, it was because he had two pitches, everyone in the league knew it, and his body was in no shape (literally) to pitch for nine months. But that's all human stuff which SABR folks don't understand. Fuck.

81 Comments

  1. Billy Beane would gargle the semen of ten men to have Howard on his team. Fuck you SABR Dicks!!!!!!!!!

  2. WAR, good god, ya’ll, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’! (say it again)

  3. great article. soooo sick of people hating on howard. not only is he leading all of baseball in RBI, he did it all season without having somebody protect him in the lineup. you put pence behind him this whole season, see what his batting average, on base percentage, and RBI looks like then. hell, just look what he’s done in the 14 or so games since pence joined the team.

  4. this is what you call ignorance. Carlos Lee has a good WAR, but is batting .175. and then daniel murphy is on this list. and it lost all credibility

  5. Leads. League. In. RBIs.
    Only stat I care about in my 4 hole. The only thing we should all care about in our 4 holes (given the rest of the stats aren’t literally the worst of all time).

  6. @mikebiff well played sir…well played!

  7. So its ok to use certain metrics like BABIP and ground ball/fly ball rates to assist in telling how effective a pitcher is, but it’s complete stupidity to use other metrics to determine the effectiveness of a hitter? Sounds quite hypocritical…

  8. No, they should be used to “assist” not determine. Made my point.

  9. While Ryan Howard does drive in runs, he also creates plenty of outs, with an on-base percentage that should be higher than it is. His job should be more than just driving in runs, but should also be to get on base and allow others to drive him in. Still love the man. Also, WAR factors in stuff like defense, which is not exactly Howard’s specialty, but you could focus more on offensive WAR if you so desire.

  10. Haha fantastic opening statement

  11. THE ONLY STAT THAT MATTERS IS BATTING AVERAGE FAPFAPFAPFAPFAPFAP
    fucking hate sabermetrics and SABR nerds

  12. Chris, Jesus Christ, shut the hell up.

  13. Pennsylvania Jones

    August 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    It takes a lot of nerve for a cross-eyed, scrawny dipshit like Kyle Scott to refer to anyone else disparagingly as a “nerd.”

  14. Completely agree with the article. Howard isn’t a perfect player like SABR nerds want him to be, and the media will take any opportunity to hate on a Phillies player. Howard will do great with Pence behind him.

  15. Great piece. Mainsteam stats suck, but the purpose of every player isn’t to maximize their SABR value. Nice job balancing that with reality.

  16. This is a really petty article attacking a pretty smart group of people. If you don’t like sabermetrics, that’s completely fine, don’t use them. Kyle Scott, however, seems to have a pretty good understanding of them (using BABIP in his articles, displays good knowledge of the components of WAR, etc…) but still viciously attacks a group of people who think differently than he does about a sport. It’s just a game. There is no need to attack people for something as simple as disagreeing with you about how good a player is. The stats sabermetricians use aren’t made up just to insult your favorite player, they use what statistics are available to us and try to quantify what is happening on the field. WAR is not a perfect statistic, but neither is RBI (or percentage of runners driven in). However, using every stat available to us can help everyone understand the game better. Once again, not using sabermetrics is fine if you don’t want to use them, but attacking the people who do is really quite sad.

  17. “…a sexual maneuver that requires three fingers, two easels, and a yam.”
    I believe that sexual move is a ‘Thanksgiving Carcillo.’

  18. Jesus Christ, Kyle, you are such an insufferable fuck.

  19. This post strikes me as unnecessary. I don’t think we really need a potty-mouthed blogger to come to the defense of poor Ryan Howard. The man makes $126 million; I think he can handle some alternative analyses of his value. Or, you know, he could pay someone to defend him in a convincing way.
    At the same time, though, anyone who attempts to question commonly accepted measures of value and attempts to have a better understanding of the world around them is a Real Problem! These nerds must be publicly made fun of on the internet! Because we’re not in high school any longer, and we don’t have lunch rooms for that.

  20. You can’t attack others for cherry picking stats when you do the exact same thing in your post. You defended Howard by using only one stat. Yes, he’s good at knocking in runs, but even with that stat, four of the ten 1st basemen on that list have a knocked in % either equal or better than Howard’s percentage. Maybe you consider this to be the most important part of Howard’s game because he’s in the 4-spot, and that’s a fair argument, but you can’t just ignore all the other parts of his game, like his defense, or poor baserunning, or subpar batting average and on-base percentage. A player like Joey Votto knocks in runners just as well as Howard, as displayed above, but he also does everything else better. That’s why he’s a better player. You don’t need WAR to figure that out. I like Howard a lot, but be real about it.

  21. In the absence of real analysis, just use fuck some more in your next article. You didn’t use it enough here.

  22. Matt- Howard is an above average first basemen with the glove. No stat will convince me otherwise.

  23. So, Ryan Howard “produces” a lot of runs…
    How many does he prevent? Ryan Howard isn’t a DH in the AL. He plays a below average first base, you don’t need metrics, or stats for that. You can just watch him. How many RBIs does he take away from other players with his below average base-running?
    This is why people label him overrated. He is 1-dimensional player and he has allowed other teams to adapt to him, specifically with no one on base.
    He’s also terrible against left-handed pitching. So, while run producing is essentially important, there is a laundry list of things wrong with his game that makes him overrated, or well more specifically, overpaid.

  24. Mr. Scott, what you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  25. I dont know why anybody cares about what the media’s perception of Howard is, especially Phillies fans. Sure the stat does sound dumb, but what does it matter at the end of the day? Howard is getting PAID, the Phillies are the best team in baseball, and HOWARD IS GETTING PAID (oh and Krystle). Good night and good luck.

  26. Howard is also third on the team in runs…

  27. Ryan Howard is paid to be a run producer, and he produces runs. That’s not hard to understand. He’s one of the most prolific homerun hitters in the history of the game, check THOSE numbers. And it has nothing to do with CBP- he has more career HR’s on the road than he does at home.

  28. Without reading the article…I’d say that the following have all been better then Howard this year:
    Halladay
    Lee
    Hamels
    Victorino
    Utley
    Rollins
    Pence
    I’m not ready to throw Worley in there yet.

  29. I hate advanced stats.
    Runs. RBI. BA. Standings.
    Those are the only numbers that matter.

  30. He’s a great player. No player is perfect in a sport that immortalizes hitters that succeed 3 out of 10 times at the plate, so everybody has holes. Howard strikes out more than most, certianly more than fans can stomach, but he also drives in runs at a ‘winning’ clip and the Phils are better with him in the lineup.
    I don’t like WAR, I think the whole premise of trying to calculate what a replacement player would do in a star’s place is beyond any person’s ability, and nobody on the team would welcome anybody other than Howard at first base and batting fourth. If others want to make a living off it, so be it, but ask around that clubhouse and you’ll get a resounding “NOOOO” if any player thought the team would be where they are now without him. You think other teams are going to be as cautious with Utley if the AAA 1st baseman was batting behind him?
    People, fans and opponents, are going to tear apart his game, but I’m glad to see him out there 150+ a year.

  31. He knocks runners in, and benefits greatly from being in the Phillies lineup. If he played on a middle-of-the-road team, he’d be considered extreeemely overrated. He’d have an “albatross contract,” and he would seem much more mediocre. He’s basically Adam Dunn, except Adam Dunn sucks now, is white, and has played with far less talented players. If you think he’d seem worth what he’s making on most other teams, you’re wrong. He’s a more than adequate player for THIS team — not any team.

  32. Are you saying Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?

  33. Ryan Howard is an above average first baseman. He can pick a ball with the best of them. Anyone who can’t see that is retarded.

  34. Out of Whack Jacks

    August 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Howard needs a nose job! Hey Yoo

  35. Kyle, you can’t have it both ways. Condescendingly trashing SABR “nerds” and then whipping out your pitch charts and BABIP… it just doesn’t work. It’s clear that you’re not a fan of WAR but other statistics clearly show Howard is having a down year even by his own typically overrated standards.
    Regarding his defense, that’s your own Kool-Aid drinking problem. The guy is an atrocious defensive player.

  36. The use of the term “nerd” is as pathetic and cheap as anything. I won’t go around calling you guys “ignorant meatheads who drink trash like Miller Lite and haven’t read a book since ‘The Cat in the Hat'” even though I could make plenty of assumptions based on your dumb as dirt responses to the article.

  37. Until these terrible articles (and the even worse comments on such articles) started popping up, I simply liked Ryan Howard and knew of the frustrations that come with watching a “do or die” player such as himself. The ignorance that I’ve seen from this site, from Bill Conlin, and a number of Phillies homers, however, has made me almost want to despise the guy. It’s not his fault he has so many idiot people defending him but goddamn some of you people are terrible.

  38. The phillies should trade ryan howard straight up for michael morse…..that way we can get 1 and a half more wins right? right?!

  39. RAJ should trade howard this off-season for Todd Helton

  40. Kyle, how can you trash Morse when his stats this year are .321/20/69 and oh yeah HE PLAYS FOR THE FUCKING NATIONALS. Sure it’s impossible to tell what his stats would be if he was in Howard’s place but I really can’t believe that they would be any worse. If Morse hit .321 in the 4 hole for the Phillies this season I guarantee that he would be pretty damn close to 95 RBI’s right now. I don’t dislike Howard but I do think he is vastly overpaid for his production. Outside of his RBI totals, Howard’s Numbers are pedestrian. Like I said I do like Howard but lets be serious he is a pretty average hitter these days.

  41. It’s all about which advanced stats you want to look at. Fan Graphs also has a stat called Wins Probability Added. It tries to measure how a player effects the likelihood of his team winning. Howard is fourth among qualified first basemen for 2011 (10th overall). When adjusted for game situation (WPA/LI), Howard drops to seventh among 1B (17th overall).
    Since the start of the ’09 season Howard is 6th in WPA among 1B (7th overall) and 8th in WPA/LI (13th overall).
    This year, Howard leads the Phillies in WPA and is second to Victorino in WPA/LI.
    WAR penalizes Howard for his atrocious defense. He just doesn’t get to balls that other first basemen do. Also, first basemen (along with outfielders) are penalized for their position as they are expected to be better hitters than catchers and other infielders.
    I’m no sabermetrics expert, but I know that WAR isn’t perfect and you can’t generalize with it the way the NY Times writer did. Is Ryan Howard the perfect first baseman? No way. Do we want him at the plate with the game on the line? WPA suggests yes. I just wish he would have lifted the bat off of his shoulder in Game 6.

  42. “It’s not what daddy does to mommy when you sleep. It’s not a sexual maneuver that requires three fingers, two easels, and a yam.”
    “Popping My Soccer Cherry…”
    Christ, Laddie. It sounds like some birthday peg-boy has an unhealthy obssession with sex. Conkcluesion? Take some of that birthday money and get yourself a good hoower ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_87pRe1MUwE ), since it sounds like Ms. CB (AKA Rosie Palm and her five sisters) ain’t getting the job done of sating your libeedo.

  43. Nerds……
    NERDDDDDDDS

  44. Your whole article comes off as someone who’s bitter and petty. Your piss poor attitude clouds any points you actually put down in this submission.

  45. If he is the 7th best player on the Phils, I will take our playoff odds. Enough said.

  46. Please read. http://wp.me/p1GfQg-2x
    Cole Hamels has had his curve his entire career, by the way. You know nothing.

  47. Greg, you just made yoursef look like an idiot. Sure, everyone knows Hamels had a curve his entire career. The fact is, he was a FB CH pitcher up until 2010. He threw his curveball significanty less than his FB and CH and when he dd throw the curve, he couldn’t throw it for a strike, thus making him rely on 2 pitches pretty muc the entire season.

  48. greg, having a curveball and USING a curveball are two very different things. he was a two pitch pitcher with a third pitch he was so uncomfortable with using that you could count on one hand the number of times he’d throw it in a game.

  49. it also burns when i pee about 17% of the time.
    And this year as a whole, he probably is the 7th best player on the team as of today and as taking stats starting as of April……and Kendrick has had a better year than Oswalt, and Madson is having a better year than Mariano Rivera.
    Doesn’t make them better.

  50. look at ryan howard’s september’s. He has put this team on his back on more than one occasion, and to me that doesn’t go unnoticed. Maybe he’s overpaid but who isn’t in the MLB. All I know when it gets to September and October I’m glad he’s on our team. I’m an adult, which means i can look past him not swinging in last year’s NLCS. Was I frustrated at the time? Of course, but we wouldn’t be 4 time (soon to be 5) NL East champs without him and let’s not forget the 2 pennants and the one ring.

  51. THE ARTICLE SAID 7TH MOST VALUABLE “PLAYER,” NOT HITTER. THEY’RE INCLUDING PITCHERS TOO.
    Dude, I agree that SABR people are sometimes way too over the top, but they may not be as far off as you think in this case. The article said Ryan Howard is the 7th most valuable “player” on the Phillies. Not the 7th most valuable hitter. In terms of BaseballReference WAR, the Phillies more valuable than Howard are (in order): Halladay, Hamels, Victorino, Lee, Rollins, and Utley. Also, remember that WAR takes baserunning and defense into account as well. Other than maybe Rollins, I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to make the claim that those other guys are all having better seasons than Howard. Roy Halladay, by almost every SABR statistic, is the best pitcher in all of baseball. Hamels and Lee are not too far behind. Victorino is having an outstanding season at the plate this year, and his defense and baserunning are great like always. Utley is excelling at the plate and with the glove again, and he is a basepath monster, going first to third or scoring from second on singles, and stealing 13 bases without getting caught once. Rollins is having a very solid season as well, and, again when taking baserunning and defense into account, a strong argument can be made that he is having a better all-around season than Howard.
    So again, remember that they called Howard the 7th best PLAYER on the Phillies, so that includes pitchers too. With the year Victorino is having and how solid Utley is playing, I don’t think calling Ryan Howard the 6th or 7th most valuable Phillie this year is as much of a stretch as you’re making it seem.

  52. Tommy K and Chris,
    Congratulations on making yourself look even more stupid. Please read what I posted before responding to my comment. I further explained it there. http://wp.me/p1GfQg-2x
    Cole Hamels Curveball Usage:
    08 – 13.7%
    09 – 10.5%
    10 – 8.2%
    11 – 9.9%
    He throws his curveball less now.

  53. Wait a second, I didn’t write that long (and well thought out) point above…I might have to add some unique identifier to my name. Magnesium Balls McLukey it is.

  54. No Greg, anyone who has actually watched him pitch knows the difference. He had the pitch, he threw it from time to time, but it was either a ball or it was a mistake resulting in a homerun. He wasn’t fooling people with his curveball. He throws it less now because he has a 4th pitch to throw now, which he didn’t have before. Which means…he can throw his fastball and changeup less, along with his curveball, making them all more effective.
    Oh, and cool snarky blog post responding to a snarky blog post responding to a nerdy newspaper article. You’re doing it wrong.

  55. K.S. is correct. Howard is a beast. He leads baseball in RBI’s and has decent numbers and did so in a lineup that was awful for the better half of this year.
    I could care less if Howard is SABR statistically the best or worst on the Phillies. We have the best record in baseball, the best ERA in the NL and our cleanup hitter leads the league in RBI’s. Sour grapes NY Times.
    Howard overrated? Child please. And what does that one statistic stand for? Wins Above Replacement? So who the hell would his replacement be that we’d have more wins then with Howard? Gload? Mayberry? Clowning.
    You want a statistic for wins? Here’s one for you: Ryan Howard leads MLB in game winning RBI’s this season. Go look that shit up.
    FACE

  56. According to Howards IWB, he’s a damn beast!

  57. RBI is the most over rated stat used in measuring someone’s production

  58. Continued… that said, WAR needs a lot of work before people start using it to define a player’s value.

  59. Garbage. Why is that? Why are RBI’s overrated? Granderson, A-Gon and Howard are the only players with 90+. Are they not premiere hitters?

  60. Whatever…math equations and math equations…Howards a beast, I’m gone, I don’t get it. peace.

  61. If Howard is the 7th best player on my team, my team is pretty stacked and a lock for the World Series. Also, nice post FACE! Howard produces RBS’s, thats his job. Jimmy and Shane’s job is to get on base and have a high AVG. Howard also has to play against a shift.
    Philly needs to embrace Howard for what he has done and stop bitching about his avg. Give credit to where its due you babies. Starting to sound like pathetic Mets fans.

  62. Kyle, take a deep breath. You need to realize that WAR takes position into effect. Howard’s WAR is penalized because he is a 1B, where it is much easier to find good players. Also, his defense is questionable at times, but more importantly you need to look at baserunning. While he doesn’t make blunders out there, he is slow on the basepaths. He is less likely to avoid double plays.
    What you need to acknowledge is that WAR is holistic. Is it perfect? No. But you HAVE to consider everything when thinking about it. You can’t just strip out hitting and compare it. It’s comparing two things that are not in the same category.
    Read the following article. It’s good.
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/2/28/2019517/using-trammell-and-reuschel-to-explain-war

  63. Nick- I know WAR takes position into account, that’s why it’s a ridiculous stat. A first basemen’s defense only matter insofar as he can pick the ball out of the dirt and can provide a big target- both things Howard is very good at. I’d also argue that, for his size, he runs well. He’s serviceable in two departments and elite in the one that really matters for his role.
    FACE
    *just because that’s really fun

  64. Richie. Sexson.

  65. SABR nerds are the puny statistical geeks crunching their dungeon & dragon probabilities in a bunker far away from the battle, taking nothing into account concerning the human qualities of the soldiers on the front lines executing the missions.
    Put a bat in their hand in the bottom of the 9th, WS game 7 on the road, 2 outs, 2 on, down 1, and see if they understand that human perspective the numbers don’t tell them.

  66. Did you really say Ryan Howard is a serviceable baserunner? That is fucking retarded. And as for his defense: did you watch him this past month? Do you remember his double error in the Colorado game?! What MLB first baseman can’t pick a ball? I could pick a ball all goddamn day.
    Howard’s good for one thing. Smashing baseballs with his bat.
    Hallady, Hamels, Lee, Utley, Victorino- Easily more valuable this year.

  67. RBI is a product of the OBP of the batters in front of the hitter. Its not a judge of individual performance.

  68. BABIP is only a valuable measurement when Kyle uses it to demonstrate things that he agrees with.

  69. “A first basemen’s defense only matter insofar as he can pick the ball out of the dirt and can provide a big target- both things Howard is very good at. ”
    Because no ground balls are ever hit in the direction of a first baseman, and they never, ever have to throw the ball to second base, right?

  70. SleepinggiantZZ- Then how the hell do they score? You can get on base all day. Someone has to knock in them runs. If RBI’s is a product of other players then why is strand rate a stat? Why is RBI even a stat? Why not just go by runs scored.
    That’s like saying QB’s throwing TD’s to a WR are products of a WR getting in the endzone first…The ball’s gotta get there does it not? Isn’t it equal?
    I don’t get how some people can sit here and try to sell me that RBI’s are an overrated stat. Why the hell is it one of the major stats then? When a hitter strides to the plate, I don’t see their xFIP or WAR come up on the bottom of the screen, I see AVERAGE, HR’S, RBI’S,RUNS. Period.

  71. Also…
    FACE

  72. Yeah, no kidding somebody has to knock them in. Thing is just because Ryan Howard has loads of RBIs doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near the best at knocking them in. It doesn’t capture his rate of converting opportunities into successes, just the absolute number of successes. It’s like saying BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the second best running back in the NFL at scoring touchdowns because he had the second-most rushing touchdowns. It doesn’t work like that.

  73. Face, to answer your question about my post earlier, RBI’s are overrated because the batter doesn’t do anything to get the runner in scoring position. It’s a COUNTING statistic only.
    Say Utley gets a double and Howard is up to bat. Imagine Howard gets the hit and the RBI. Now say in a different scenario, Victorino is on first and Utley already popped out. Howard is up to bat and imagine Victorino steals 2nd base. Now Howard goes from not having a RISP to having one in scoring position and an easier RBI opportunity. Say he gets a hit and the RBI. What did he do differently in that AB than in the first AB? Nothing. In both instances, the runners got themselves in scoring position (as they always will). Howard doesn’t do anything to get the runners in a position to score. The only thing he can control in either(any) scenario is his at bat. That’s why, statistically, I don’t give a shit about counting stats.
    What I’d be more interested in seeing is his BA with RISP. I’m sure there’s a sabremetric stat for that but I don’t know it. Without knowing off the top of my head, I’d guess that Howard’s BA with RISP is pretty good considering our offense sucked the first half of the season (meaning no one was getting into scoring position for him to bat them in) and he is still leading the NL in the RBI department. And just as a side note, I actually like Howard on our team. My point is that league-wide, you can’t judge how good a player is based on RBIs. There are just too many factors out of the player’s control that influence his number of RBIs.

  74. Face just read your most recent post, here’s a good article if you want to know why RBI’s are still included as a stat:
    http://deadspin.com/5685456/my-uncomfortable-encounter-with-an-angry-joe-morgan
    Basically people have a hard time when it comes to changing philosophy.

  75. Kyle, I’m not sure if you answered my point. And I really can’t believe that you said WAR taking position into account is ridiculous.The whole point of taking position into account is because you value that position for what it is. Great defense makes a great SS because it helps a pitcher get outs. The importance of defense at that position has always been paramount. Now if you took a great fielding SS and 8 clones of him to fill out the rest of the positions, the team would be awful. This is because of positional need. Every position brings something to the table.
    1B usually has big lumbering guys there who can mash the ball. SS usually has more athletic guys who have different skills. Howard would greatly improve his value if he not only mashed the ball, but was also a great baserunner. It’s harder to imagine from the 1B side than the SS side. Big production 1B’s are very common. But how common are SS’s like Jimmy Rollins in 2007? The reason his WAR was so high in that year was because his normally great defense was supplemented by a fantastic year at the plate.
    Please provide a valid reason for why WAR should not factor position. Ask yourself if Ryan Howard playing at every position would produce a great team.
    Ultimately, I don’t think there is a single valid reason for why WAR should not factor position. It just doesn’t make sense to not factor position.

  76. Here’s what I don’t get, Phillies fans: If it’s acknowledged that Ryan Howard is a pretty decent player, and I say you have six…SIX…players better than this perfectly good player. Shouldn’t you be happy about that? As a Twins fan, I would sell my soul to have six Minnesota Twins who were better than Ryan Howard. That’s not an attack on Ryan Howard, that’s praise for the Phillies and your ninja of a GM who can seemingly pull superstars out of thin air.

  77. You all should be embarrassed.
    Arguing against Howard being the modern Babe Ruth?! STFU.
    Wasting your time trying to convince morons that Howard is the modern Babe Ruth?! STFU.

  78. Lots of flat-earthers all up in this motha’, to be sure.

  79. This is a hilariously awful article.
    RBIs?
    So Jose Bautista is not the best hitter in baseball right now because he doesnt have as many RibEyes as other players? GTFOH.
    Also, someone said that Howards job is to drive in runners, not to get on base etc.
    You’re wrong. The most important job of every hitter is to avoid getting out. The better players avoid getting out by hitting more HR’s 2B’s etc, but a player that makes less outs than another by a large amount is better even if he doesnt hit a lot of HRs and ARE BEE EYES.

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