Cliff Lee's Changeup says:
August 4, 2011 at 10:09 am
Jeter was 5 for 6, his second 5 hit game of the season.
August 4, 2011 at 10:15 am
Utley had a HBP too.
August 4, 2011 at 10:26 am
He is quietly having a very good 2nd half: 330/380/490 since coming off the DL.
Jerome S. says:
August 4, 2011 at 10:33 am
Ryan Howard isn’t even that good of a hitter. I mean, he’s good, but he’s been getting worse for years now and while he is certainly a plus value with the bat he’s nowhere near the top of the leaderboard.
But those fucking RBI’s.
He keeps getting hits where it counts and I guess that would give him a bit of value. But he’s going to place very well in the MVP voting this year, undeservedly, as I foresee he won’t crack 2.0 WAR.
August 4, 2011 at 10:50 am
He’s no worse of a hitter than he was in aught 8 when he was an important part of a world championship team. Dunno what he ever did to deserve your scorn, maybe cause he’s black.
August 4, 2011 at 10:50 am
Funny that the link for JD Martinez went to Nats pitcher JD Martin, I was expecting this old Met
August 4, 2011 at 10:53 am
I mean, he’s good, but he’s been getting worse for years now
You mean he’s not maintaining a .300+ ISO? Shocking.
That’s really the only difference in Howard’s performance. Granted, it’s a HUGE difference to go from a ~.325 ISO to ~.240 ISO. 15 homers is a big seasonal change.
But those fucking RBI’s.
Discussion on the research on Howard and RBIs revealed that  He gets to hit with men on base quite a bit, and  he performs very well (compared to his career numbers and his peers numbers in similar situations) in those situations.
At this point in his career, there has to be a “reason”. It could be  no “dead pull” shift,  fewer breaking balls with men on base,  with guys on, he tries to make good contact to all fields,  something else.
 I doubt the shift really takes away a bunch of hits per season
 This is possible
 When Howard is really “stroking it” (Har Har), he’s driving the ball deep to left-center. When he’s not, he’s pull heavy, and on the ground.  He may concentrate more or change his approach with guys on base.
But, it’s no longer ajust a case of “anyone could rack up RBIs like him in the Phillies lineup”, although that sentiment is hanging around quite a bit.
So, his WAR isn’t outstanding (I don;t think we really know how to measure 1B defense), but he’s 8th in the NL in WPA.
Early in the season, Howard hit big homers (with guys on, of course) in consecutive games and the Phillies won. I stated here, at that time, “and so the Howard MVP season begins”. He may actually have a great chance because of his WPA/RBI, the Phillies W-L record, the lack of a really dominant MVP candidate, Pujols having another “down” year, Berkamn getting hurt, etc.
However, if Juston Upton doesn;t get strong consideration, even be the favorite for MVP, given his performance and DBacks rise, I’ll be pissed.
August 4, 2011 at 10:54 am
Howard’s wRC+ for his career: 130, 162, 135, 120, 140, 125, 124
yep: “getting worse for years now”
Look, Howard’s RBI totals do result in him being overrated by the MSM, and he’s not one of the more valuable first basemen in the game, and his contract is all guaranteed to be a big overpayment for his services (though, really, in context, less and less likely to actually kill the Phillies); we all know this; it’s not worth saying over and over again. But remarks like this are exactly the kind of crap that make people tune out sabr-followers.
Dave S says:
August 4, 2011 at 11:05 am
“isn’t even that good of a hitter”
Could we PLEASE stop with the Ryan Howard hate?
Among qualified NL batters, his wOBA is ~ #20 in the league and his wRC+ is ~ #30.
I get it… he’s (currently) tied for #4 in HRs, and #1 in RBI.
His value is over-rated by those old-school numbers.
He is soon going to be wildly overpaid. (after being wildly UNDERPAID for years)
He is a mid-pack hitter among NL firstbasemen.
But all that is FAR different from saying he isn’t that good of a hitter.
August 4, 2011 at 11:18 am
The FG community seemingly has no respect/value for 2-3 WAR players … across the board. We need to understand just how rare mauer, Pujols, bautista, and Utley are. They are NOT the standard. They break the system.
A 2-3 WAR 1B with no glove is a GOOD hitter. Seriously, that 3 WAR guy is hitting 3rd or 4th for almost every team in the league. Being 8th in the NL for 1B batting runs is not a disgrace. For a lot of teams, their best hitter plays 1B. A mid-pack 1B is going to be a good hitter.
We should all understand that howard’s extension was an unnecessary bad move. But, man, taking it out on Ryan Howard is ridiculous. He’s still a pretty good power hitter.
Ryan Howard will be vastly overpaid when looking at it through our WAR-based system (or perhaps any system). That does not mean that Ryan Howard is not good. It’s rather childish of us, as a community, to sort of take that stance and act like we do towards Howard.
He run a pyramid sceme and rob money from elderly ladies nor did he get that money from selling kiddie porn. His boss asked him to sign a 25M/y contract extension and he said “yes”.
August 4, 2011 at 11:54 am
Why do you doubt the shift takes away a bunch of hits? It sure seems to, according to my memory of the games themselves, and his BABIP is lower then, too, as are his overall numbers.
Barkey Walker says:
August 4, 2011 at 11:56 am
It might be worth changing “[F. Last] Home Run” to “[F. Last] Grand Slam” on the graphs (when appropriate). I realize it is anti-situation dependent, but then again, so is WPA.
August 4, 2011 at 11:59 am
I think it takes away some hits (<10), I just don't think it takes away a bunch (20-30, in my mind).
I could be convinced, with data, to accept that the "pull shift" robs Howard of a bunch of hits if that's what the data showed.
August 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm
C’mon man how many times do we need to hear this, especially addressing THIS crowd?
Joe P. noted Howard has been hot…and he has.
Jay Buhner says:
August 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm
Something I’ve always wondered (and apologies if this has been addressed before)… how does a pitcher’s hitting factor into his WAR? Is it even a part of the equation? Because with Mr. Willis hitting like he is, it would seem that he definitely has more value than another hypothetical NL pitcher with the exact same pitching stats but a .023/.023/.023 line or something like that.
August 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm
You can look up batting WAR for pitchers here. A pretty poor hitter can rack up some value as a pitcher.
August 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Interesting article from ’09 at BP, the shift and Howard’s BABIP change is part of it:
“(in 2006) his .363 BABIP, which although lower than his minor league BABIP (.370), is extremely high for the major leagues. Yet, in late June 2006, teams started employing the shift against Howard, and his BABIP has never been the same.”
“Facing more of the defensive shifts that started appearing in mid-2006, Howard’s BABIP dropped to .336. Even more dramatically, his BABIP on groundballs fell from .250 to .187.”
For poops I rammed numbers together and applied that .250->.187 BABIP on ground balls to his 2010 numbers (yes I know this is meaningless and bad form). It’d add about 10 hits, and some basic changes would be:
BA goes from .276 to .294
OBP from .353 to .369
SLG from .505 to .523
So an .892 OPS, up from .858. From 17th in the league for the season to 9th.
August 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Ok. Fair enough, except just 10 more hits this year would raise Howard’s avg from .255 to .279, five more bumps it to .291, five more to .303.
August 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm
For example, Cliff Lee has 54 plate appearances and a wOBA of only .254, but he’s been worth 0.5 WAR.
Don’t think many pitchers are gonna be 1 WAR batters but it doesn’t take any sort of Ruthian numbers to look good thanks to (what I assume is) a generous positional adjustment.
August 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm
I know the dangers of assuming and outcome and basing data on perception, but I’ve seen every Phillies game this year and Howard has easily had 10 hits taken away from him so far.
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