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Phillies Position Analysis: First Base


Previous Analysis: C, 2B

Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)
            2008- Ryan Howard
            2007- Ryan Howard
            2006- Ryan Howard
            2005- Jim Thome
            2004- Jim Thome
            2003- Jim Thome

2007 Recap

          Following his historic MVP season in 2006, Ryan Howard clearly started off 2007 with a bit of a hangover from the constant media attention and award dinners’ circuit in the off-season. He quickly got back to his old self though, leading the NL in HR and RBI after the all-star break.
          To put in perspective the 2 years that Howard has had with the Phillies, here are some stats.                      

         Over the last 2 years, his only full seasons in the league, Howard has 105 HR (16 more than anyone else), and 285 RBI, (8 more than anyone else)

         Single Season HR Ranks – Excluding those who took steroids

1)      Roger Maris, 1961 – 61

2)      Babe Ruth, 1927 – 60

3)      Babe Ruth, 1921 – 59

4)      Ryan Howard, 2006 – 58

         Single Season RBI Ranks since 1950– Excluding those who took steroids

            1)      Manny Ramirez, 1999 – 165

            2)      Alex Rodriguez, 2007 – 156

            3)      Tommy Davis, 1962 – 153

            4)      Andres Galarraga, 1996 – 150

            5)      Ryan Howard, 2006 – 149

         ­­Is already the Phillies all-time HR leader for a first-baseman

         In 2007, hit .377 and had a .568 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position and 2 outs

What We Need In ‘08
               It’s hard to nitpick with someone who owns the stats mentioned above, but one thing Howard can do in 2008 is take a little bit of pressure off himself. Last year, he was coming off his MVP season, may have felt he was playing for a contract and spent part of the year without Utley in the line-up. As a result, he pressed at times, and ended with a very high strikeout rate, and a lowered batting average (from .313 to .268). In 2008, Howard needs to get back to making contact with the ball, spreading it to all fields and bring his batting average up and strikeouts down. But even if he doesn’t, I’m never going to complain about 47 HR and 136 RBI.

First-Baseman of the Future? Let’s just say we should hope Howard doesn’t get injured. There is really no quality 1B prospect in our system.

NL East First-Baseman Rankings
1. Ryan Howard, Phillies
2. Mark Teixeira, Braves
3. Carlos Delgado, Mets
4. Dmitri Young, Nationals
5. Mike Jacobs, Marlins

Top 3 First-Basemen in MLB for ‘08
1. Ryan Howard, Phillies
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

Top 3 First-Basemen in 25 or younger
1. Fielder, 23
2. James Loney, Dodgers, 23
3. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, 25

Best Season By a Phillies First-Baseman: Ryan Howard, 2006 (.313, 58 HR, 149 RBI, 1.084 OPS)

Best Season Ever By a First-Baseman: Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees – 1927
(.373 BA, 47 HR, 52 2B, 18 3B, 175 RBI, 149 Runs, 1.239 OPS). Only player to ever have over 45 HR, 50 2B and 15 3B in a single season. 5th most RBI, 3rd most total bases, 2nd most extra-base hits of any season, at any position. Among 1st basemen in a single season: Highest OPS and SLG% ever, most total bases and extra-base hits, 3rd most RBI, 5th most runs, 7th best BA. And not surprisingly, he played every game.


12 Responses

  1. I’m not a Barry Bonds supporter except for the fact that I hate how blindly people disregard all the other flawed records. If you eliminate all the guys who took steroids – eliminate anyone that played any part of their career against an all white league. How about adding in players that played in the negro leagues?

    As for Howard – I can’t believe people complain about his 2007 numbers. Yes he struck out a lot – he also knocked in a ton of runs. I might rank Texiera ahead of him because of his glove, but even that isn’t 100%. Howard is easily worth the money the Phils aren’t giving him.

  2. Any word when he might get a contract ?

  3. Pete, I completely agree with you that Howard needs to get back to putting the ball in play and striking out less, but I think you under stressed how important that is.

    This year, Howard struck out a record 199 times in 144 games (no asterisk next to his game like Marris). Howard had 330 ABs this year that didn’t end in a strikeout, and he batted .430 in those at-bats. If Howard had struck out 100 fewer times, that still would have put him at 99 strikeouts, which is still a lot but not terrible in this day. Even if Howard’s .430 average in non-strikeout at-bats dropped to .400 for those extra 100 at-bats, that’s still an extra 40 hits Howard would have collected this season, which would have raised his average to .344 for the season, which would have led the league. If he batted .350 for those extra hundred at-bats this season, his average would have been .335.

    The point I’m trying to make is that Ryan Howard is a talented player, but he essentially gave up 200 at-bats this year by striking out. He showed in 2006 that he can hit above .300 in the league, but his numbers would be outrageous if he could cut down on the Ks. It’s either that or be destined to become the next Adam Dunn.

    Pete, maybe for your shortstop analysis, you can overlook your obvious Philly homerism and explain why Jimmy Rollins winning the MVP over Matt Holliday was a joke.

  4. heisner- dead on on Howard. like i said, i think he was trying too hard last year, hence all the strikeouts, hopefully he pulls himself back a little this year.

    as for rollins – there is no doubt in my mind that he deserved the MVP over Holliday. I will discuss in my SS analysis, but the main fact is that Holliday was completely average away from coors field. His slugging % in away games was .485. That was good for…..wait for it…… 40th in the NL and 66th in the MLB. Behind such quality players as Cliff Floyd, Kelly Johnson, Corey Hart, Ryan Church, Jayson Werth, and even, Jimmy Rollins.

    I will concede that Rollins was the beneficially of an off-year in the NL and wouldn’t have won most years. but he had a historical season while playing gold glove defense at the most important position on the field.

    the argument for holliday is valid and not ridiculous, I just happen to disagree.

  5. […] Analysis: C, 1B Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)             2008- Chase Utley             2007- […]

  6. […] Position Analysis: Short-Stop Posted on January 28, 2008 by Pete Previous Analysis: C, 1B, […]

  7. christ, strikeouts don’t matter
    when are people going to learn that?

  8. Yes, when there’s a runner on third and less than two outs, a strikeout doesn’t matter.

    Strikeouts matter because it is the only situation in which a batter has zero percent chance of reaching base. No chance of an error, bobble, lucky bounce, etc. Last time I checked, you needed base runners to score runs, and strikeouts don’t produce base runners.

    Christ surely wouldn’t strike out, rich.

  9. […] Position Analysis: 3rd Base Posted on February 2, 2008 by Pete Previous Analysis: C, 1B, 2B, […]

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  11. Obviously strikeouts manner, but they dont when you put up that many numbers, hes still getting the job done

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