Why Ryan Howard’s New Contract Will Prove to Be a Disaster

May 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Wanna see something strange?  Take a look at the homerun, RBI, hits, runs scored, and total bases numbers for two Philadelphia Phillies outfielders, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth:


 – Werth currently has 8 homeruns, 31 RBI, 46 hits, 28 runs, and 90 total bases.


 – Victorino currently has 8 homeruns, 32 RBI, 45 hits, 28 runs, and 84 total bases.


Holy cannoli, right?  Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth are having virtually identical seasons.

Man, throw in the fact that Victorino plays centerfield and has seven stolen bases to Werth’s two, and we might have to infer that Victorino is actually having a better season.

Emphasis on the “might”.

Let’s compare Werth and Victorino again, but this time let us look at their RSL (Rate Stat Line) and four other statistics: OPS+, adjusted batting runs, and wins above replacement (WAR):

 – Werth currently has a .324/.404/.634/1.037, along with  a 169 OPS+, 15.3 adjusted batting runs, and a 1.7 WAR.

 – Victorino currently has a .262/.308/.488/0.796, along with a 106 OPS+, -0.2 adjusted batting runs, and a 1.2 WAR.

Holy cannoli, again, right?  Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth are having two completely different seasons.

Man, throw in the fact that Werth has been providing absolutely essential protection in the lineup for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley while Victorino has been failing in his primary role – getting on base ahead of those guys – and you’d almost have to conclude that Victorino is having an even worse season than Werth.

So what’s the point of all this?

It is one thing for casual baseball fans to compare players purely on the basis of the traditional Triple Crown categories or, more relevantly, homeruns and RBI.

However, I suspect that major league baseball people are doing the same thing, and I simply find this baffling.

I am almost certain that Ryan Howard’s recent extension – making him one of the two or three highest paid baseball players in the world despite the fact that he isn’t one of the three or four best players in his own league at his own position – was based on homeruns and RBI.

Howard is an elite homerun hitter, but in terms of overall value, he is far from the cream of the crop.

Have a look:

Now, you tell me: which set of numbers do you think Phillies’ General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. was looking at when he decided to make Ryan Howard one of the three highest paid players in baseball?

In a few years, when we’re all complaining about how much money Howard is making, let’s all remember today’s lesson about how certain statistics can be deceiving, and let’s all remember that all the information Amaro needed to avoid making this mistake was available to him, shall we?




Asher B. Chancey lives in Philadelphia and is the co-founder of BaseballEvolution.com.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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