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Ruben Amaro continues to overvalue Ryan Howard

Jan 31, 2012, 3:01 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

Over the weekend Ruben Amaro was quoted as saying that he’d rather have Ryan Howard on his current deal than either Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols on theirs.

Like I said at the time, I’ll give him some latitude there because Howard is his guy and it’s not like he’s going to say bad stuff about him, even if he secretly believes it. Amaro is no dummy.

But I’m less inclined to give this bit, from Ken Rosenthal’s latest in which Amaro talks about why he’s loathe to extend Cole Hamels‘ contract now, the same latitude:

“The difference between Ryan’s and Cole’s situation is that we’re talking about a guy (Howard) who is very, very difficult to match up what he did in successive years and equate that with what Cole has done,” Amaro said. “He was probably the most productive player during that span of anybody, including Pujols. This is not a slight against Cole — he has had some phenomenal years. But he is not the most decorated player in baseball.”

So for starters, he’s not simply comparing a Phillies player to a non-Phillies player here. He’s comparing two Phillies’ players — the dominance of Howard vs. the dominance of Hamels — and finding Howard’s greater.  As such, one would think he’d be as honest as he can about it and less willing to engage in hyperbole in a way that would anger one of them.

And, really, why anger Hamels here? Does he simply want him to bolt as a free agent next season? He must, on some level, believe that Howard is a more valuable piece at first base than Hamels is in the rotation. Which seems … off to me.

More to the point, by what metric does Amaro have Howard being more productive than Pujols between 2005 and 2009, which is when Amaro is talking about? Because the way I see it:

Howard: .279/.386/.586, 220 HR, 635 RBI and an OPS+ of 143
Pujols: .334/.439/.631, 206 HR, 608 RBI and an OPS+ of 173

Fine: a few more homers and a few more RBI for Howard, but overall he was clearly the inferior player.  And then you can add in the fact that Pujols played superior defense in case you think it is somehow close.

And hell, even if you use Amaro’s phrase “most decorated player,” Pujols won three MVP awards during that stretch to Howard’s one MVP and one Rookie of the Year Award.  So even if you adjust for the strange perception of some that Howard was better than Pujols because of the love he gets at awards time, Pujols still outclasses him there.

Not that I need to make that argument to most of you. It doesn’t take much to appreciate that Pujols, by every single measure that matters, was the better player during the time Amaro specifies.  The thing I don’t get is why Amaro would use such a clear line of specious reasoning as a means to explain why Cole Hamels does not yet have a contract extension.

Don’t you think Hamels might be miffed by that? I think I would.

121 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. lyon810 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Hamels in an Angels uniform come 2013. Sorry

    • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      I’d say Yankees are more likely. He’s basically Sabathia in the 2009 offseason – great young lefty, perfect match for them.

      Maybe the Angels would want him as Haren’s replacement (with a year of overlap)? He doesn’t seem a good fit for them, though. They’re pretty stacked for pitching, and any resources they have might be better spent on getting someone to hit behind Pujols.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        I’m hoping the Yankees.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        Yeah, The Phillies are going to let Hamels walk. Keep dreaming guys.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        And what makes you think they’ll hold onto Hamels, other than that Amaro should want to? I mean, he should try to re-sign Hamels, but most players try to get as much money as they can, and Amaro can’t force him to give a hometown discount.

        The longer that goes by, the less likely it is that Hamels will re-sign. If he’d wanted to give a hometown discount, he would’ve already. He’s going to FA.

        I mean, it’s not like the Phillies have gotten rid of pitchers before so they can afford someone else, right?

        Right?

      • seattlej - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        You know it’s not ultimately Amaro’s decision, right? I’m not sure what purpose is possibly served by bonehead statements like this, but there certainly not indicative of a willingness to fork over the big bucks to Hamels. This seems more like the beginning of an explanation to fans as to why they let him walk than anything else.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        lol!!! Yeah Ari. The Phillies are a different organization now too. All I’m saying is you’re counting chickens before they hatch. I’d say the better bet is he ends up signing a big deal with the home team. And don’t take that as saying it would be on a discount, you seem to have materialized that somehow from what I said. Although Halladay and Lee did, so I don’t see why Hamels wouldn’t. Some of you like to pretend his bags are already packed. it’s kinda funny. How soon everyone forgets how much the Phillies really want to keep Hamels.
        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/07/ruben-amaro-the-phillies-want-to-keep-cole-hamels-for-a-long-long-time/

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        No, I’m not saying he WILL walk. Just that it gets more likely every day. You’re the one who sounds sure of yourself, which is why people are jumping on you a bit here.

        We’ll find out! If he makes it to free agency, it’s going to be a killer crop of pitchers.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        What does a “killer crop of pitchers” tend to do to the value of contracts to be signed? I’d say it may just knock down the value just a wee bit. Just an FYI Ari. I am sure of nothing when it comes to baseball contracts. Nothing. The Mariners could sign him for all i know. Even though it’s unlikely. All I’m sure of is that the team and GM wants to keep the man. Therefore they’ll not let him walk without a solid offer. Now on the other hand now that the new CBA is in effect, it may pay to let him walk and collect draft picks while not losing any picks due to signing another FA pitcher who’s also on the market at the same time. I think.

  2. yettyskills - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Alex Anthopoulos & Andrew Friedman he is not

  3. Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Definitely a weird thing to say. If it comes down to Howard or Hamels going forward, would anyone choose Howard? Hopefully for the Phillies, it’s not ACTUALLY a choice between the two, and they can have both, but they clearly locked up the wrong guy.

  4. drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Ryan Howard is fucking awesome…..deal with it.

    • yettyskills - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      He will be comparable to Ike Davis and Freddie Freeman by season end, but making 25 times more money.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        Says you.

      • paperlions - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:58 PM

        You are correct, he does say that….and so would just about every baseball scout or executive.

      • yettyskills - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        The 8 thumbs down are Davis and Freeman fans who are insulted right?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      So nobody thinks Ryan Howard is awesome? You can keep your fancy “stats”…I will take the dingers, runs, and wins.

      • nategearhart - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        I think he’s awesome, and I really like to watch him play. There just seems to be this whole extremes business with him, where you either have to think he’s the second coming of Jimmie Foxx, or a steaming pile of dog shit. I plant myself firmly in the middle.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        I actually agree with you. I got bored and was stirring the pot a bit.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Along with the bad defense and 150 – 200 K’s a Year Doctor!

      • brewcitybummer - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM

        Joe Morgan thinks Ryan Howard is awesome. Back when he had a microphone in front of him he would remind everyone of his opinion of Ryan Howards awesomeness in the middle of unrelated conversations. Wait a second…Dr monkey arm, are you Joe Morgan?

    • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Ryan Howard in 2006 was awesome. Ryan Howard now is farrrrr from awesome.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        Listen, he does what they need him to do. People like to discount the RBI as something of a team stat. There is much truth to that but somebody still needs to knock them in and Howard does it at an elite rate. Over the course of his career, he is in the top 10 in knocking in runners on base by percentage. Of players who get near as many opportunities as him, only A. Gonzalez does so at a greater rate. So, while it is something of “sport” for people to pan him, he provides a valuable function for the Phillies…a function that despite popular conception is not easily replaceable.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        I’d wager that it’s probably easier to replace than you think. I give him credit for knocking those runs in but you can’t discount the team factor (speed, on base, going 1st to 3rd etc). We could also get into a back and forth on why he knocks those runners in (i.e. lack of a shift) but that’s been hashed out a ton here. There are obviously two camps on this. He’s on the decline and he just can’t hit lefties.

        2011 Splits:
        vs R: 0.266/0.370/0.550 wOBA 0.384 BB%: 13.7 K%: 25.5
        vs.L: 0.224/.286/0.347 wOBA: 0.282 BB%: 6.5% K%: 29.7

        He’s quickly approaching platoon status……I’m saddened by that because I love the guy…but cmon…

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Yes, there are other factors involved as to why his percentage of runners bated in is on the elite level. However, he does perform at that level in that situation. That cannot be discounted. It is pure speculation as to whether others would perform at that level if inserted in the Phillies line-up. The fact is, at full strength the Phillies line-up still produces at a level consistent with the top teams in the NL and he is a big reason why.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        Howard is what he is – a below-average hitter for a first baseman when no one’s on base and they can shift against him, and an above-average hitter for a first-baseman when someone is on base. With his below average fielding, that leaves him as an average-ish first baseman.

        The clutch slugging is excellent, and the inability to hit when the shift is on sucks. Neither of those is who he is; he’s both. It adds up to a good-but-not-great player who, through no fault of his own, is paid like an elite player.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        According to baseball reference his dWAR is actually above average.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        BR’s data metrics are one data point among many other data points (including our own eyes), all of which point to him being a poor defensive first-baseman. To say otherwise is cherry-picking in the extreme.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        Of players who get near as many opportunities as him, only A. Gonzalez does so at a greater rate

        Food for thought, minimum 100 runners on base here’s a breakdown by year for Howard since ’06, when he became a regular:
        [year - men on base - % driven in]
        ’06 – 509 (2) – 17.88 (48)
        ’07 – 501 (5) – 17.76 (54)
        ’08 – 483 (9) – 20.29 (8)
        ’09 – 500 (4) – 19.20 (14)
        ’10 – 457 (14) – 16.85 (61)
        ’11 – 462 (5) – 17.97 (tied for 33)

        () Denote rank amongst all. I can change the parameters if you wish, but the more selective we become the less the stat means (b/c the # of eligible players diminish).

        All stats courtesy of* where Sean Forman got his info when we discussed this way back when.

        *http://www.baseballmusings.com/cgi-bin/RBIPCT.py?StartDate=03%2F30%2F2011&EndDate=10%2F05%2F2011&SortField=OnRBI.RunnersOn&SortDir=desc&MinPA=100

      • jason1214 - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:04 AM

        You SAID it phillyphreak

  5. kaf39 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Hamels and Howard are both great!!!

  6. CliffC - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    And this man, ladies and gentleman, is a major league general manager….

    • b7p19 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Not only that, but he’s also a better than a lot of the other GM’s in MLB. Very sad.

      • paperlions - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        I don’t think he’s better…he just gets to spend more money and had the benefit of a great minor league system to trade away when he became GM. There are worse, but there are many that could do far better than he has with the same resources….the time that shows how good he is fast approaches…once the players that were in place when he became GM go to pasture, let’s see how well he does building a roster through time.

  7. aceshigh11 - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    GMs are basically politicians.

    EVERYTHING they say is calculated. They need to appease (a) their fans, (b) the sports media, and (c) their own employees (players, managers, coaches, etc.)

    It’s their actions that count. Who they sign, for how much, etc.

    Clearly, Amaro is trying to portray the Howard signing as NOT a big mistake, and he’s trying to acclimate the fans and the Phillly sports media to the idea that Hamels may NOT be sticking around.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      “Clearly, Amaro is trying to portray the Howard signing as NOT a big mistake”

      I 100% agree with you- the more he repeats it the more he believes it.

    • owenpoin - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:01 AM

      I see it thusly…
      Amaro: Hey Hamel’s agent, how about an extension?
      HA: Sure! Let’s see, you gave Howard 5/125, and he’s pretty good. Hamels is very good. very beats pretty. My client will sign for 6/160.
      Amaro (to self): I must now begin a long media campaign to beat this pretty good beats very good narrative.

      And so it begins.

  8. Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Just face it Ryan Howard is Swag. Pujols is just Shag. ;)

    Craig, is this how you’re going to displace your deep anger over the Braves doing absolutely nothing this off season to improve? Picking on every word from Amaro? C’mon, can’t you take up blowing up mailboxes with m-80’s or something? You’ve got dead man impostor’s quotes to help you prove Philly fans are plain A-holes. And 3 cases where you pick apart something Amaro said in the last two days. The Braves are going to be horrible in the NL east this season and no amount of Amaro bashing is going to change it. Because no matter what mistake he may have made with the Howard contract, the Phillies are still going to own the Braves. And so will the Nats, and so will the Marlins. Hey, at least the Braves will still have the Mets to make them feel better anyway.. :P Look, let Amaro try to handle his Howard deal as he wishes, even if it’s by lying to himself.. Whatever it takes to make him feel better.

  9. kappy32 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I’m actually surprised Howard’s average is as high as it is. I would have pegged him for .250-.260. .273 is not too shabby for a power hitter. However, there are a couple of other factors at play here that weren’t mentioned & are not fancied amongst Saber-Geeks. First, Pujols strikes out at a rate of 50-60% less than Howard each year. Every year Howard is among the top in strikeouts & K/AB whereas Pujols is always far below the league average. Second, Howard amassed only 14 more HRs than Pujols while playing in that bandbox of Citizens Bank Park. Busch Stadium, if it’s still called that, isn’t exactly Citi Field dimension-wise, but I have no doubt that there were definitely 14 flyballs that went out at CB that would have resulted in flyouts at BS. As a matter of fact, I am pretty damn sure that number is probably significantly higher than a mere 14 over the stated time frame. Howard is a good player, but he is significantly overpaid & the length of his contract is going to hamstring the Phillies on the back end. The first thing to diminish on a player is his power & that is what Howard relies on. Pretty soon the Phillies are going to be paying for average to below average power numbers with 200-plus strikeout numbers. Bad contract & from the sound of it, it appears that deal is preventing the better player, Hamels, from receiving the love & cash he deserves.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      CBP is not a bandbox. It plays at the league average.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        It’s played near the league average recently. Right now it’s a *slight* hitters park, but from 2004-2007, it was one of the top home runs hitters parks in the game. Which goes to show that park factors aren’t always set in stone!

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        This is true. Busch Stadium, however, was 26th, 28th, and 27th out of 30 MLB parks for home runs in the past three seasons.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        And yet Howard has more HRs on the Road than at Home… Hmmm…

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:28 PM

        This is true. Busch Stadium, however, was 26th, 28th, and 27th out of 30 MLB parks for home runs in the past three seasons.

        Ah of course, because Pujols only hit HR in Busch Stadium… right!

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        Certainly not, Francisco. But acting as though home park is irrelevant when looking at a player’s career numbers because a player plays on the road is awfully short sighted, given that 50% of their games will be played in their home park. Todd Helton played games outside of Coors Field, too. But I don’t think anyone will be astonished to learn that his home field had an impact on his career totals.

      • The Baseball Gods - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:49 PM

        There were a lot of home runs hit at CBP from 2004-2007 because the Phillies had guys like Thome, Howard, Utley, and Burrell among others hitting tons of home runs there. Howard has hit 140 home runs at CBP in his career and 146 home runs on the road. Jim Thome in 2004 had 42 home runs and only 19 of them were at CBP. The Phillies just happened to have some players with good power and that made CBP look like a hitters ballpark.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        Guys.

        A) Park factors are NOT affected by how good a lineup you have. They’re based on what people hit at the park vs. what they hit on the road. If a park is neutral, they’ll hit the same number of homers on the road vs. at home no matter if each guy is hitting 40 or 20.

        B) Park factors are a much better measure of how the park plays than an individual’s home/road splits, which are essentially useless in measuring how good a home park is.

        C) The fact that teams only play half their games at home means that only half their output is affected by their home park. But 50% of their play being home-park-aided (or -hurt) is pretty huge.

        Conclusion: when you adjust for ballpark, Pujols’ big edge becomes a huge edge. Pujols’ “down” year last year was better offensively (let alone defensively) than any of the last five Howard seasons.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:37 PM

        But acting as though home park is irrelevant when looking at a player’s career numbers because a player plays on the road is awfully short sighted, given that 50% of their games will be played in their home park.

        And WHERE have I specifically said that? I am criticizing the Individual above who seems to believe only HOME stats have ANY importance (reread his text). You must take both into account, and when you look at the home/road split, Howard playing 50% of his games at CBP has NOT noticeably aided his ability to hit HR which is what I’m saying.

        If a park is neutral, they’ll hit the same number of homers on the road vs. at home no matter if each guy is hitting 40 or 20

        Exactly, please tell that to the individual above who is poo-pooing Howard’s HR because he plays half of his games at CBP.

        The fact that teams only play half their games at home means that only half their output is affected by their home park. But 50% of their play being home-park-aided (or -hurt) is pretty huge.

        Sure, the individual above is trying to make the case that Howard’s HR totals are unimpressive because he hits at CBP. The fact of the matter is Howard has hit more HR on the road than at CBP. Remember I’m engaging the HR argument, this is not an argument saying Pujols is a lesser offensive player or whatever.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:54 PM

        One hits more homers in one game than another because of a million factors:

        A) ballpark

        B) health that day

        C) pitchers seen

        D) pitches seen (even a good pitcher can have a bad day, or even just one bad pitch to the wrong guy)

        E) day/night game

        F) handedness of pitcher faced

        And 999,994 other reasons. As well as just random happenstance, of course.

        So just because a guy hit more homers on the road than at home does NOT mean that his home park doesn’t help him. It means that he did particularly well in the games he played on the road, and those other factors outweighed the lack of his home ballpark.

        Put another way, he would have had a bigger gap between home and road homers if he played in, say, Busch stadium. CBP has played fairly neutral the last few years, so Howard hasn’t been helped THAT much overall by hitting at home. But he’s been helped a LOT more than Pujols has, because Busch is quite a difficult place to hit homers out of. So you have to adjust for that when you compare the two.

      • stanheleva - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM

        From 2004-2007, Pat the Bat was there, that’s why!

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      Second, Howard amassed only 14 more HRs than Pujols while playing in that bandbox of Citizens Bank Park. Busch Stadium, if it’s still called that, isn’t exactly Citi Field dimension-wise, but I have no doubt that there were definitely 14 flyballs that went out at CB that would have resulted in flyouts at BS. As a matter of fact, I am pretty damn sure that number is probably significantly higher than a mere 14 over the stated time frame

      Here, I must criticize you, CBP has actually been fairly hitter netural the last couple of years, and second: Do Pujols and Howard play exclusively at their respective parks? You know they actually play in other stadiums right? In fact, do you know that Ryan Howard has actually hit four more HRs in his career on the ROAD than at HOME?

      There are many ways to compare both players and no doubt Mr. Pujols comes out on top in a lot of categories, but belittling Ryan Howard’s HR totals as mere park effects is… [Dark Helmet Voice:] DUMB.

  10. illcomm - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Did anyone bother to mention that Howard bats 4th with no protection behind him and Pumps bats 3rd with lots of protection behind him. Given that, I still think Howard may have been slightly overpaid, but really the current Albert deal is far worse. Also the fielder deal is much worse as well. Fielder will have a few outstanding years 4-5 and then u will be paying 24 mil for a DH. Pujos will prob help the angels get a ring, but there u are again paying 25 mil for 5 years of a DH. Howard was patient behind Thome and was rewarded. At least during Upwards deal, he will be playing first the whole time.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      Protection is a myth.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        No it’s not, I tells you that Latex saved my bacon more than once in the past…

      • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:39 PM

        Well played FC.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Howard is going to be poor from year one of his contract, though. At least the other guys are earning some of their money

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        That is pure speculation.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        No, it is pure projection. Could be wrong, I _fully_ admit. But it’s based on a lot of data, including a steady decline on his part, the fact that he’s 32, and the fact that he’s hurt. Not many people rebound from that to become the elite player they were for one year in their 20s, which he’d have to do to earn that contract.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        We will revisit the discussion in a couple years then. Now, either of us could be correct.

      • paperlions - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

        You know….that “we’ll see in a couple of years” thing is what people said when Howard signed his deal 2 years ago…and all he has done since then is continued his decline.

      • nategearhart - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:15 PM

        “Howard is going to be poor from year one of his contract”
        On the contrary, the rub of this discussion is that he will be very, very rich.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        Haha, good point. Ahem: he’s going to PLAY POORLY.

  11. markcycy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    162 Game Avg.
    g p/a ab r h 2b 3b hr rbi ba
    162 695 598 100 165 30 3 45 136 .275 .

    this is his 162 game avg in his 8yr career. I don’t think he is overvalued

    oh yeah he is a world series champion

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Players with a higher WAR than Ryan Howard, 2006-2011:

      Albert Pujols
      Chase Utley
      Matt Holliday
      Miguel Cabrera
      Alex Rodriguez
      Hanley Ramirez
      Joe Mauer
      David Wright
      Curtis Granderson
      Carlos Beltran
      Ryan Zimmerman
      Adrian Gonzalez
      Jose Reyes
      Mark Teixeira
      Chipper Jones
      Lance Berkman
      Adrian Beltre
      Evan Longoria
      Jimmy Rollins
      Ichiro Suzuki
      Derek Jeter
      Kevin Youkilis
      Dustin Pedroia
      Ryan Braun
      Carl Crawford
      Ian Kinsler
      Troy Tulowitzki
      Brian McCann
      Robinson Cano
      Brandon Phillips
      Grady Sizemore
      Prince Fielder
      Joey Votto
      Scott Rolen
      Dan Uggla
      Jayson Werth
      Alfonso Soriano
      Josh Hamilton
      Russell Martin
      David Ortiz

      Now, I’m not saying fWAR is perfect…but that’s pretty damning.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:50 PM

        Not only is that a pretty damn fine list of some of the best ball players, but a very pricey one too. Howard is far from perfect, he’s overpaid obviously. But one thing i’ll never understand is why he’s so criticized by so many people so harshly. It just doesn’t seem right to me.

        If this isn’t equal to getting BOOED, I don’t know what is.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        “ut one thing i’ll never understand is why he’s so criticized by so many people so harshly.”

        ….because of articles like this one, in which the Phillies GM says he’s more productive than Pujols. Also, that he finishes in the top 10 in the MVP voting every year.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        So this makes you angry at him, and makes you put him down as a player? Ok. I’m not saying I’m perfect… but that’s pretty damning. :P

      • cur68 - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        Its the GM tongue bath bringing on the boo-ing J5. I think pretty much everyone likes Ryan Howard: he is one of baseball’s gents. But he really doesn’t measure up, in an objective sense, to that hyperbole RAJ put forth there. Personally, I think its cool that a guy like RAJ is so pro-Howard and so many of the Phans are too. I just wish we all (RAJ especially) had this up-front sense that we have rose coloured glasses on when we talk about Ryan Howard. He, Howard, is what he is: a damn good RBI man, a true slugger, a great team player, and a gent, but he’s not really worth all that Philthy Lucre, but, since we like him, so what?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:53 PM

        So this makes you angry at him, and makes you put him down as a player? Ok. I’m not saying I’m perfect… but that’s pretty damning.

        You know what it is? Ryan Howard is baseball’s version of Tim Tebow, without all the messy religious stuff. Media thinks each is a great player, fans agree somewhat, others try to tear them down with lots in between.

        As cur and others have mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with Ryan Howard as a person or player. He’s just not worth one of the highest AAV contracts in baseball. The rest is up for argument.

      • paperlions - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:09 PM

        People are essentially required to rip Howard to demonstrate that he isn’t as good as people think he is….if so many people didn’t have such a skewed perspective of what he contributes to his team, the litany of effective arguments that clearly demonstrates how much those people over-rate Howard wouldn’t be necessary.

        Howard has been a good player. He had one great year. People don’t have a problem admitting he is good….people do have a problem saying he’s elite or deserves to be among the highest paid players….because both are patently false, an easily demonstrable fact.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        I know what you’re saying guys, but this has seriously hit the “beating dead horse” state long ago. It’s kinda beginning to make me feel bad for the guy. He’s just another good ball player who’s overpaid. Another one. Want some easy thumbs up around here? Trash Howard to prove how smart you are. It’s low hanging fruit really.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      Luis Sojo is a three time world series champion. That may not be a useful way of evaluating player performance, though it’s a nice feather in their cap.

      Evaluating based on amassed numbers as you’ve done is useful, but looking at summed career numbers like that doesn’t necessarily indicate how a player is likely to perform going forward. Looking at how they are trending is instructive, as is considering their age.

      Jason Bay’s 162-game average shows us a .274/.369/.494 hitter with 29 homers and 101 RBI a year. I don’t think too many people would sign him to a 5 year contract expecting him to put up those numbers going forward.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Luis Sojo is a three time world series champion

        5 time sir, 5 time!

        Sincerely,

        The-Luis-Sojo-has-5-Rings-Therefore-He’s-Better-Than-Ted-Williams-Club

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        Eh, I said 3, since he only actually played in 3 world series that he won. He got the other two rings, sure, but I’m not sure I can call someone a world series champion if they didn’t play in that world series.

        Still, your point is well taken.

  12. The Baseball Gods - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    The title of this post should have read:

    “Craig Calcaterra continues his obsession with writing posts about the Phillies.”

    Nice job trying to create an internal issue with Cole Hamels and the Phillies. Only problem is that it is complete speculation that Hamels would have an issue with what Amaro said. How about you wait until Hamels comes out with a negative response to this and then (bam) there is an actual story?

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      The title of this post should have read:

      “Craig Calcaterra continues to successfully bait Phillies Phans writing posts about the Phillies.”

  13. thefalcon123 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    I mean….Amaro isn’t actually that stupid right? He’s just supporting one of his guys and saying outlandish things in the process….right??

    Since 2006, Pujols and Howard have played roughly the same amount (just 14 PAs difference). In that span, Pujols scored 86 more runs, got on base 213 more times, stole 43 more bases, had an OPS .108 points higher and hit a few less home runs…while playing in the 2nd toughest park for right handed hitter in the NL. Oh, and he can field.

    I don’t have a problem with Ryan Howard. He seems like a swell guy with a ton of power and I’d love to have him on my team with a sensible contact. I have a problem with how comically overrated he is. I hate a problem that he makes $20 million dollars, finishes in the top 10 in the MVP voting every year and is considered among the elites in the game. He isn’t.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      Howard hasn’t been overrated in years. These days he is actually comically underrated. Particularly if you are a frequent reader/poster on this blog.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        Without using a team context stat RBI show how he is underrated?

      • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Depends on who’s doing the rating, right? I might agree with you that people who think that his hitting with no-one on is his true talent level and that his hitting with men on is a mirage, those people are underrating him a bit. But the vast majority of people, including everyone on the boob tube, think that he’s an elite hitter, and that’s severely overrating him.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Because he is constantly bashed on this blog and I have had to read about how shit he is for the past year. He is a good player who makes too much money. So the fuck what? The world is littered with people who make too much money for what they actually produce, it doesn’t warrant a monthly post on a blog. People need to just give it a rest. Also, the RBI is an under rated statistic. There is value to driving in runs (particularly at an elite rate).

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        “Also, the RBI is an under rated statistic. There is value to driving in runs (particularly at an elite rate”

        No…it isn’t. You know who drives in a lot of runs? Players with a lot of RBI opportunities. In 2001, Orlando Cabrera drove in 96 runs and he was a below average hitter. In 1986, Dave Kingman drove in 94 runs and he was *terrible*.

        Ryan Howard is not terrible. He’s pretty good. But his gaudy RBI totals have a lot to do with him coming to the plate with men on base more than anyone else in baseball.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        That is why I put the term “rate” in parenthesis. Yes, he comes to the plate with more men on base but he drives them in at an elite rate.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      Furthermore, who gives a shit where sports writers put him on their MVP ballot? Isn’t it a constant thing on this blog to make it known that the posters know more than the writers? So, who cares about their opinions anyway? Well except of course Joe P…..that is when he is writing about baseball rather than spending time defending somebody who allows pederasts to continue their ways.

      • mordecofe - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        because that’s what ruben said. his quote above, which you can’t miss, says that hamels is not the most decorated player in baseball, referring to ryan howard.

        just one of many points of hyperbole that craig was pointing out.

  14. lancer255 - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    You are just trying to stir the pot. He will be a Phillie unless he wants to be back on the west coast.

  15. andyreidisfat - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    First your statement is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Howard has more homers and rbi’s. Last time I checked they are the two most important stats for a clean up hitter, you producing runs.

    So basicly you have an opinion that the facts don’t back up, and you admit that, yet you still stick with the faulty opinion. Are you a republican or is this post secretly written by the loser at pft ( the least factual site on the net) ? This unlike that loser site is usually good. Don’t be like them. When your opinion is proven to be wrong just admit it, don’t throw out platitudes and other junk to end round te facts .

    Also I agree with raj, cole hamels has had 2 good years and one great playoff run, hardly enough for some silly ten year deal ( by the way which worked out again ? Was it a rod ? )

    Though I would love to see hamels here long term, I would rather the team stay good than keep any one player. Also considering raj is the best gm in the game today I think his opinion counts way more than any hack Internet writer.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:37 PM

      Last time I checked they are the two most important stats for a clean up hitter, you producing runs.

      Wrong

      So basicly you have an opinion that the facts don’t back up

      Wrong again

      cole hamels has had 2 good years and one great playoff run, hardly enough for some silly ten year deal

      His peripherals, year by year match Sabathia’s almost exactly, if not a little better. So yeah, he should be in line for a huge deal.

      ( by the way which worked out again ? Was it a rod ? )

      Arod’s first deal, on a per dollar basis, was a steal. Jeter’s 10 year deal was basically a push. What’s your point here?

      Also considering raj is the best gm in the game today

      How so?

      • paperlions - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:46 PM

        The last time he checked may have been 1975….so he could be right….just anachronistic.

  16. schmedley69 - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Have to agree with Craig here. Amaro is losing credibility. Everyone knows that Pujols was the best player in baseball during that period. As for the Hamels talk, this reminds me a lot of when the Eagles break up with a player. If a player doesn’t accept their contract terms and tells them he wants to test free agency, the Eagles start bashing said player in the press in an effort to devalue his future earnings in free agency. My guess is that Amaro made an offer to Hamels, and Hamels turned it down. Now Amaro is greasing the skids for Hamels’ departure.

  17. dmb182 - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    This story, and the one prior about howard, make no sense. You could write this story in a few years when Pujlos production goes down. Look, when Howard signed his contract, it was a good deal. Sorry, you can’t just start comparing it to what he’s doing now in reference to signing a pitcher that clearly hit his prime? I mean, honestly i don’t get what you’re even trying to say. Hamels will make his money, if the phillies can match the offers on the table and stay competitive they will. If they can’t he’ll be gone, simple as that. They have a number of all stars on this team. You wanted Ruben to somehow foresee the future, offer Howard less money, lose him a few years ago, and sign Hamels now….? And what if Hamels is doing crappy 4 years from now and some other player needs to be paid? Honestly, these Ryan Howard stories are inane. stop writing them. He’s a phillie because he was playing lights out when he was in need of a new contract, and ya know what, he may not be the best 1st baseman/power hitter, but he’s pretty darn good too.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Look, when Howard signed his contract, it was a good deal.

      No, it really wasn’t. For two reasons: one, the extension just kicks in now, so think about it. A player who is not as good as Pujols and/or Fielder is getting more AAV over the next 5 years than they are. Two, he wasn’t worth 25M/year back when he agreed to the deal, let alone now that he’s declined even further. How that’s considered a “good deal” is beyond me.

      honestly i don’t get what you’re even trying to say

      Not sure what’s so difficult to understand? Everyone in the known universe knows that Pujols > Howard except the Phillies GM. Amaro would prefer Howard. That and Ryan and his wife(?) are probably the only 3 people on Earth who would.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      You seem to be under the impression that he needed to be re-signed two years ago. He didn’t. He would have been a FA *now*, and the Phillies would have wisely let him walk, as he would have had trouble finding money as a hurt, declining player.

      Not signing him to an extension would have been the smartest thing Amaro could have don, and signing him to a big extension at above-market rates two years before he needed too was the stupidest thing he could have done.

      And yes, he SHOULD have foreseen this. Everyone foresaw it and immediately panned the signing. No one saw him getting hurt (though there’s always that risk, especially as players move into their 30s), granted, but everyone saw him as both overrated and declining. Which he is and did further, respectively.

  18. jason1214 - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Mr. Amaro is gonna choke on this old, overpaid club in a few years………..and yeah Hamels is gonna walk, because in case some of you haven’t been paying attention, new TV deals (See Angels, Anaheim), and Insanely rich owners (see Ilitch, Mike) are roaming.

    OH and with drug testing, the days of players improving into their mid to late 30’s are over.

  19. bdawk20 - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Howard’s defense has improved considerably over the past 2 seasons, no one in the major media notices it because 1) it is easier to generalize than do your job and 2) they don’t watch him play everyday.

    While I cannot argue that Howard is actually better than Pujols, I can argue that sabermetrics is bull****. If you are going to look that deep into a player’s stats, but not factor in the quality of the pitcher those batters face, then how can you perform an accurate analysis?

    As for the Hamels vs. Howard argument, we would not have made it into the playoffs that year without Howard, but we would not have won the World Series without Hamels.

    • thefalcon123 - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      “While I cannot argue that Howard is actually better than Pujols, I can argue that sabermetrics is bull****. If you are going to look that deep into a player’s stats, but not factor in the quality of the pitcher those batters face, then how can you perform an accurate analysis?”

      The quality of the pitchers faced?!?! Howard has come to the plate 4000 times in the past 6 years. Do you really think the quality of the pitcher’s he has faced is radically different from anyone else who come up 4000 times? This is the type of argument Bill James so eloquently referred to as the “bullshit dump”. If you want to make an argument that a player is better than he is, you come up with a BS reason and show no data whatsoever to back it up. Guess what, Baseball Prospectus DOES track the quality of pitchers faced. So, if you’re going to make this argument, go get the data to back it up.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        I think you have a better chance of Old Gator voting Republican in the next election than you have this guy returning with a list of OPS against for the top 10% of hitters over the last few years.

        Nevermind that two, if not three, of the best pitchers in the NL are on Howard’s team so it would automatically reduce his “quality faced” stat…

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        Really? You want me to get data that does not exist? For if it did exist, I wouldn’t say that Sabremetrics does not account for it.

        But, for fun. Let’s look at divisions. We’ll use Howard and Pujols’ team as a basis for comparison just to prove a point. You would agree that the Cardinals and the Phillies play in different divisions right? You would agree that teams play their own division more than anyone else right? Ok, then, so here are the ERA’s for those teams:

        Cubs- 4.33
        Astros- 4.51
        Brewers- 5.81
        Pirates- 4.04
        Reds- 4.16

        Nationals – 3.58
        Marlins – 3.95
        Mets – 4.19

        Which division would you rather play in? From a macro-perspective, what pitching staff do you think would be more difficult to score runs against?

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        And if you want to get REALLY particular about stats, which it seems you fanatics do, why not account for the umpire’s strike zone, who gets more favorable border-line calls, etc. Again, not making this an argument about Pujols vs Howard, making an argument that you Sabremetrics supporters seem to think it is the be-all end-all, when it only looks at one element of the equation, the hitter. (And sometimes who is on base). It also does not take into account who protects him in the lineup if you want to go even further.

        As a basis of comparison for a player, production is the be-all end-all. The right guy on the right team at the right time beats any statistical analysis (just ask Cody Ross, circa 2010).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        Let’s address your points one by one:

        Howard’s defense has improved considerably over the past 2 seasons, no one in the major media notices it because 1) it is easier to generalize than do your job and 2) they don’t watch him play everyday.

        Def Ratings:
        Total Zone: 2.2, -0.3, -21.0
        UZR: -0.8, 0.2, -12.6
        DRS: 0, -1, -14

        That’s from ’08 to ’10 since nothing outside UZR is shown on fangraphs for ’11. However, in ’11 he was a -4.8. According to every defensive metric he’s getting worse, and an achilles injury isn’t going to help.

        While I cannot argue that Howard is actually better than Pujols, I can argue that sabermetrics is bull****. If you are going to look that deep into a player’s stats, but not factor in the quality of the pitcher those batters face, then how can you perform an accurate analysis?

        How does that determine that sabrmetrics is bullshit? Could it be there’s a reason it’s not factored in, like the sample size isn’t large enough to draw any meaningful conclusions based on it? For example, I looked at Howard’s and Pujols’s splits last year. For Howard we get:

        PA – highest is 77 (Braves) with the Marlins right behind at 76. For Pujols, it’s 76 PA against the Brewers and then 68 against the Cubs. No one draws conclusions on 76 PA.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        It also does not take into account who protects him in the lineup if you want to go even further.

        Because protection is a myth.

        Again, not making this an argument about Pujols vs Howard, making an argument that you Sabremetrics supporters seem to think it is the be-all end-all, when it only looks at one element of the equation, the hitter. (And sometimes who is on base).)

        What else should it look at? The Phillies GM thinks Howard is a better player than Pujols. That’s what we’re discussing. And as multiple people have pointed out, it’s wrong. What should we look when discussing this?

      • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        Bdawk.

        There are some fundamental things you should learn about Sabermetrics before starting to bash it. Particularly you seem to think that you’re finding all of these “flaws” in the application of saber stats. In actuality these things are known and being researched. And saber lovers will be the first to tell you (at least most of them) that there are still inconsistencies and things that need to be worked on (defense for one). It would be more befeicial for the discussion if you said “Here is what i think is wrong about analysis X. I think it should be done this way (insert your idea).”

        That being said:

        Stop evaluating pitchers by ERA (and W/L records if you also put lots of stock into that). Use something like FIP or xFIP or SIERRA. Defensive ability can hurt or help ERA among other things.

        “It also does not take into account who protects him in the lineup if you want to go even further. ”

        Protection is a myth. It doesn’t exist and many many studies have show this. For a small idea of what it means/meant for Howard check out:

        http://crashburnalley.com/2011/09/20/the-myth-of-hunter-pences-protection/
        I also think

        Also FWIW the Brewers didn’t have a 5.81 ERA last year. Team ERA was 3.64 , Starters ERA was 3.78 and Relievers ERA 3.32

        “As a basis of comparison for a player, production is the be-all end-all. The right guy on the right team at the right time beats any statistical analysis (just ask Cody Ross, circa 2010).”

        So Cody Ross was better than Pujols in 2010?

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        Did you ever play baseball? Sabremetrics did not help the Red Sox come from behind 3-0 to beat the Yankees to win the World Series, though Moneyball would tell you otherwise, it is production and momentum. Baseball has a lot to do with intangibles, which are also not measured. Relying on Sabermetrics to evaluate a player is impartial and inaccurate. You are implying that Albert Pujols, if on the Phillies, would probably have 150+ RBI’s, it not more. That just does not happen – and it would not happen as coaches would stop pitching to him or pitching to get the guy in front of him out so he comes up with no one on base (protection, remember?).

        What if a coach’s philosophy is small ball vs. free swinging? You can’t trust any metric that makes assumptions about a player to be accurate.

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        What else should you be looking at? The article is a comparison of Pujols vs Howard using Sabremetrics as the primary measurement. I am saying it is not an accurate measure, so I am not comparing Howard and Pujols, I am arguing that using Sabremetrics to compare players is inaccurate.

        The Cardinals scored 4.7 runs/game during the reg season, but 5.5 per game during the post-season to win the WS. Nothing to do with Sabermetrics, but more to do with having smarter at-bats at timely hitting (they gave up the same number of runs per game in the post-season and regular season). Does sabremetrics help explain that? No. Momentum and production at a given time explain that.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:44 AM

        For some reason my posts aren’t posting. So again I apologize if they all show up at once sometime today!

        Bdawk:

        Please stop bashing sabermetrics unless you can provide a better alternative to the way that the analysis is done. All it does is reinforce the notion that people who don’t like sabermetrics don’t take the time to read and learn about it. If you want to claim that sabermetrics doesn’t correctly evaluate players then SHOW why. Don’t appeal to authority (i.e. “Did you ever play baseball?”)

        Sabermetrics isn’t some voodoo curse that players use when at bat. It’s a way to analyze what happens on the field and to figure out how to increase the chance of scoring runs, preventing the other team from scoring runs, and winning games. Are they perfect? No. Do they tell you what happened (or who is more productive) better than W/L/SV, RBI and BA? Heck yes they do.

        So to some of your points:
        “and it would not happen as coaches would stop pitching to him or pitching to get the guy in front of him out so he comes up with no one on base (protection, remember?).”

        As church already stated, protection is a myth. There have been many studies done to show this. If you’re interested in a small summary of one with Howard and Pence check out:
        http://crashburnalley.com/2011/09/20/the-myth-of-hunter-pences-protection/

        “You can’t trust any metric that makes assumptions about a player to be accurate.”
        Because it seems to me that you haven’t really immersed yourself in saber stats, I’m curious as to how you come to this conclusion. RBI makes assumptions- the major one being that the batter is the sole reason for the run scored.

        ” Does sabremetrics help explain that? No. Momentum and production at a given time explain that.”
        Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter. I don’t think any saber person would tell you that the most prodcutive team over the course of the year will win the world series. After all the playoffs are one hell of a small sample size to determine the World Series Champion. It is who is playing better at the moment and that’s fine. It’s not a knock against saber stats though….

        And finally, you said the Brewers’ ERA last year was over 5. It was actually under 4.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        Ok last time I’m trying so forgive me again if all kinds of posts of mine show up

        BDawk:

        1) Instead of bashing sabermetrics, try to learn about it. The way you seem to think sabermetrics works/evaluate players shows a big disconnect between actuality and your idea of it. And a lot of your ‘worries’ about sabermetrics are dealt with really nicely in The Book.

        2) As church said, protection is a myth: go to crashburn’s site and read an article on the myth of Pence’s protection from last year. Many many studies have been done on the subject.

        3) “You can’t trust any metric that makes assumptions about a player to be accurate.”
        By this definition, EVERY metric makes assumptions- RBI assumes the batter did most of the work. Wins assume the pitcher pitched well. Saves assume the closer had a nice neat inning.

        4) “Does sabremetrics help explain that? No. Momentum and production at a given time explain that.”
        I think every person who likes sabermetrics would tell you that whoever wins the World Series is the team that’s playing the best at the time (or at least near best). I don’t think that the World Series winner is necessarily the best team in baseball that year though. The playoffs can be a small sample size, so yea if you produce during that time it helps. BUT..

        5) “As a basis of comparison for a player, production is the be-all end-all. The right guy on the right team at the right time beats any statistical analysis (just ask Cody Ross, circa 2010).”
        – This did not make Cody Ross better than Chase Utley or Roy Halladay, or Albert Pujols.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      “While I cannot argue that Howard is actually better than Pujols, I can argue that sabermetrics is bull****.”

      I think this could be really “fun”! You go first…….

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        Again, not arguing that Howard is better than Pujols, so the fact that the best pitchers on Howard’s team has nothing to do with it.

      • bdawk20 - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        Again, not arguing that Howard is better than Pujols, so the fact that the best pitchers are on Howard’s team has nothing to do with it.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      I had a post that seems to have gotten eaten by cyberspace. Apologies if it shows up again!

      Essentially:

      1) If you think Sabermetrics is bull**** prove it with data.

      2) Sabermetric lovers (most) will tell you that it’s not perfect and t hings need to be worked on more. But by and far it’s better than RBI and W/L and ERA.

      3) Protection is a giant myth: for a small idea on how this pertains to Howard/Pence see: http://crashburnalley.com/2011/09/20/the-myth-of-hunter-pences-protection/

      4) The Brewers ERA last year was NOT 5.81. It was Pujols. Got it.

      • bdawk20 - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:34 AM

        I was looking at the post-season ERA for the Brewers, my bad.

        A lot of what you are looking at and defending is what I find wrong about the metrics. It does not determine the true value of a player, but it is widely accepted as that. Players are made better by the players around them. You can’t dismiss ERA because it is not a valuable sabermetric stat, it is the fundamental measurement of a pitcher’s performance. If I am being criticized for arguing against quality of pitcher due to normalization over 4000 at bats, then don’t you think ERA would normalize over that time period too?

        If Sabremetrics doesn’t help determine who is in the best position to win a championship or division, then why waste your time examining it? It sucks the fun out of the game and creates stupid arguments as to why one player is better than the other countered to their overall production. Baseball is a funny game, playing mathematical what-if scenarios to compare players can NEVER be proven true.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:19 AM

        “Players are made better by the players around them.”

        How so? Maybe the RBI or R total of a player will increase, but metrics like OBP (that are more indicative of a skill set of a player) should remain around the same. This is sounding a little like you’re still arguing for protection- which is a myth.

        “If I am being criticized for arguing against quality of pitcher due to normalization over 4000 at bats, then don’t you think ERA would normalize over that time period too?”

        No. ERA is subject to things outside of the pitchers control- a big one being defense and another being park size. Over a large enough sample for a batter, he’ll face multiple pitchers and multiple defenses. The pitcher, on the other hand usually has the same define behind him all the time. Take a ground ball pitcher and put him on a team with a terrible infield defense or a team with a good infield defense. Which one is going to lead to more earned runs (and hence a higher ERA)?

        Let’s try an example. We’ll look at Zack Greinke from last year- the Brewers defense wasn’t terribly good (see Yuni) and his ERA was 3.83. However, his FIP was 2.98 and xFIP was 2.56. He had a 10.54K/9, a 2.36 BB/9, and a 4.47K/BB. His SwST% was 10.6!! With these peripherals one would assume his ERA would have been a lot lower. On FanGraphs if we sort pitchers 2011 stats based on one of these peripherals (say K/BB ratio) we get the following leaders (K/BB;ERA): Halladay (6.29; 2.35), Haren (5.82; 3.17), Lee (5.67; 2.40), McCarthy (4.92; 3.32), Kershaw (4.59;2.28) and Greinke (4.47;3.83!).

        So ERA is a result of what actually happened on the field- but the result isn’t totally (or even mostly) pitcher dependent. Same with W, L and SV.

        “If Sabremetrics doesn’t help determine who is in the best position to win a championship or division, then why waste your time examining it? ”

        Sabermetrics is a valuable tool to assess player value and team value. Division winners are typically the better teams over the course of the year. But World Series winners aren’t the best team to make the playoffs. This was hashed out a ton last fall/winter on these boards.

        We “waste our time” examining it because we a) learned about what sabermetrics is (and isn’t; or at least isn’t yet) and b) feel it provide a better barometer of player performance than standard W, L, SV, RBI, ERA stats. Your attack against it is common- an uniformed biased opinion against it because you haven’t taken the time to understand it. That’s fine if you don’t want to understand it. But don’t just bash it because it goes against what you think about baseball- try to learn about it and then say “here’s why it’s bad.” And for the record, the conventional stats also don’t do a good job determining who will win a championship (see 102 wins by the Phillies last year). Anyway, there are lots of folks on this site who do believe in sabermetrics and do use it a ton to talk about baseball. If you’re going to come to knock it, you’ll have to show your work.

  20. irishphilly87 - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    how is howard on everyone’s shitlist? for real the guy either leads the league every year in rbi’s or is in the 3. Look at his lineup around him. how is he doing it!? they either are injured or not produciing or underacheiving meanwhile he somehow someway is in top 3 in rbi’s. i dont kno why everyone rips him so much. yes he K’s alot. yes he doesnt bat .300. thats not why we paid him. We paid him to drive runs in and thats what he continues to do. he has the most rbi’s IN BASEBALL the last 6 seasons. he dominated 2 septembers in a row and won the NL East for us based on his septembers, n one of them got us to the postseason which lead to a championship. how many great players come up big in the playoffs other than pitchers? its a team effort and usually its some scrubs that just r on a roll. look how bad pujols was in a majority of the postseason. who ripped him for that? everyone rips howard so much. who do u want pujols or fielder for $100 million more? no thanks

    • phillyphreak - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      You should read all of the posts. That will give you an idea of how people value Howard.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      how is howard on everyone’s shitlist?

      How can you post the same drivel that has been refuted about 100x already in these comments?

  21. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 1, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Just went through all of these comments, and the best one was from Jonny5…and it got ZERO responses…and it mimics my exact feeling about Craig and his motivation for this piece of drivel…

    “Craig, is this how you’re going to displace your deep anger over the Braves doing absolutely nothing this off season to improve? Picking on every word from Amaro? C’mon, can’t you take up blowing up mailboxes with m-80′s or something? You’ve got dead man impostor’s quotes to help you prove Philly fans are plain A-holes. And 3 cases where you pick apart something Amaro said in the last two days. The Braves are going to be horrible in the NL east this season and no amount of Amaro bashing is going to change it. Because no matter what mistake he may have made with the Howard contract, the Phillies are still going to own the Braves. And so will the Nats, and so will the Marlins. Hey, at least the Braves will still have the Mets to make them feel better anyway.. :P Look, let Amaro try to handle his Howard deal as he wishes, even if it’s by lying to himself.. Whatever it takes to make him feel better.”

    Couldn’t agree more J5.

  22. stanheleva - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    So, if RBI is an overrated statistic, then let’s look at the guys who lead MLB all time in RBI. See any names in there you think overrated? Are they among the best hitters in MLB? Mel Ott, he overrated? How bout Mays, Ruth, Aaron, Foxx, Cobb, Musial, they overrated? I doubt that it’s a coincidence that the best hitters in MLB history are also at the top of the RBI leader board.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 2, 2012 at 1:01 AM

      So answer this question, does having a ton of RBI make you a good/great hitter, or do good/great hitters have a ton of RBI?

      • stanheleva - Feb 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        I think it is safe to say that the top three or four players on the RBI leader board come September are usually also the three or four most productive hitters, no?

    • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 7:25 AM

      Just to illustrate this a little bit differently:

      In 2003 Barry Bonds slash line was 0.341/0.529/0.749. He had 91 RBI. That ranked 52nd in baseball that year.

      In 2003 Carlos Lee’s slash line was 0.291/0.331/0.499. He had113 RBI. That ranked 13th in baseball that year.

      Not knocking Lee’s season in 03, but wow Bonds was head and shoulders above him…and STILL had 22 less RBI.

      As Church alluded to, great/good hitters accumulate RBI because they are great/good. They are NOT great/good because they have lots of RBI

      • phillyphreak - Feb 2, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        In my haste to post that this AM I realized that the PA may be the reason for the RBI difference, but the point is still the same: good hitters get RBI because they are good hitters. They are NOT good hitters because they get RBI.

        In 1996: avg/obp/slg/wOBA

        Bonds: .308/.461/.615/.454 RBI 129
        Buhner: .271/.369/.557/.390 RBI 138

        A bit nitpicky yea with regards to difference in RBI numbers over the season. But by far Bonds was better…..

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