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Curt Schilling and Alex Cora pick Ryan Howard for NL MVP

Mar 29, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

Ryan Howard AP

I’m not lying.

Thankfully, the rest made reasonable picks in Joey Votto (17 votes), Buster Posey and Bryce Harper (six), Ryan Braun and Justin Upton (three), Andrew McCutchen (two), and Matt Kemp, Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton (one).

Ryan Howard is 33 years old and is still visibly limping from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss half of last season. He’s been average or better by Wins Above Replacement (2 or more WAR) in one of the last four seasons, according to Baseball Reference. He plays average defense if you’re being generous with your evaluation, and he’s one of baseball’s worst base runners. He would have to put up numbers reminiscent of his 2006 for him to even come close to sniffing votes for NL MVP.

Perhaps Schilling and Cora have been swayed by his .336 average, seven home runs, and 16 RBI in spring training, but if you bank that much on spring training stats, you would have had some serious egg on your face in 2011 with Jake Fox.

Though stranger things have happened.

  1. toreup - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    unfortunately, defense and baserunning are not considered for MVP. hr and rbi is all it takes

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:36 PM

      He sure messed up on an easy pop foul near the dugout tonight. It bounced out of his glove.

    • carbydrash - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      But…you know…batting average is.

  2. gabe77 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Why not just write, “I hate the Phillies and as the author of most of these posts, I’ll just keep trashing anything Philly related, grumble, grumble, grumble”? You’d save a lot of everyone’s time.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Actually he is a Phan of the Phillies. He is also a realist. Howard will not be the MVP. Personally, I suspect that the MVP of the Phillies this season will be Cliff Lee.

    • paperlions - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:57 PM


    • Kevin S. - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      You should check out Bill’s other blog,

    • djpostl - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Clearly you have no idea who the guy is. He’s a huge Phillies fan. But he’s also a realist. Unlike you.

  3. fillyphan13 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    “still visibly limping” have you even bothered to watching before making the comment. Sorry. Stupid question, clearly you haven’t.

    • fillyphan13 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:42 PM

      to watch*

    • djpostl - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      Another idiot who doesn’t know who the author is I see…. Lemme educate you.

      • fillyphan13 - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:57 AM

        Haha, I’m quite aware of who he is. On top of reading crashburn, I also read beerleaguer, philliesnation, phoulballz.

        Because he runs a website doesnt mean I cant critic his lack of perception.

    • evanwins - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      fillyphan13 is right. He is not limping at all. Not visibly or invisibly.

      Re the story: Howard could easily (easily) lead the league in HR’s and RBI’s. HE can do it with a .250 avg or he can do it with a .300 avg.

      I’ve watched spring training and I’ll say this: He is locked in. He is hitting the ball all over the field, like grounders to where a 3rd basemen would be playing if the shift wasn’t on. If teams have to take off that shift because he continues to do that then a lot of those balls he hits to the right side of the diamond won’t be robbed by said shift. He also got robbed by at least 4 would be HR’s by the wind. And he’s hitting lefty’s too.

      MVP, I don’t know. Potential for a really great season, yeah.

      • cur68 - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        I’ve watched me some Howard this spring. He’s exactly as you say: locked in. Hitting all handed pitchers and all over the field. Plenty of power. It’s like he’s turned himself into the left-janded Joey Votto. It is NOT so far fetched to see Howard throw up some mondo numbers this season. Also: if he’s limping I’m not seeing it so much. There is perhaps a slight hesitation in his stride as he rounds the bases but not what you call a limp. He looks trim and pretty fit and seems to be moving well enough to get the job done.

      • tommyshih - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:09 AM

        @cur68 Yeah, imagine if Joey Votto hit left handed… 😉

  4. schmedley69 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Cora also picked Jordan Zimmerman for NL Cy Young, but let’s just overlook that and pile on Ryan Howard for the 80 gazillionth time on this site. Looks like Craig has trained you well. Traitor!

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      My oh my. I did not realize how sensitive some Philadelphia fans could be. If it means anything to you, your pitchers looked very good against the Jays tonight.

      • schmedley69 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        It’s all done tongue and cheek, although in every joke there is a little truth. You would think that Ryan Howard is the Antichrist by the number of negative posts about him on this site.

      • carbydrash - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        They are precious flowers that must be protected from criticism at all cost.

        It’s okay! Who’s a good boy! Yes, you are lil’ Phils fan…yes you are! You want a treat-treat?

  5. gbar22 - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Am I missing something with the “stranger things have happened” link? I looked at that link I didn’t see anything strange about the winners in 2005. Please some explain!

    • paperlions - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM

      Colon won the CY at 32, a year after posting an ERA over 5.00….and in 2005, Santan and Buerle were each waaaaaay better than Colon…so, not only did he come out of no where to win, he had no business getting the award….so…in a world in which a 32 yr old Colon can win the CY, then a 33 yr old Howard can win the MVP.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        It’s not that he came out of nowhere to win it (I assume this phrase means he was some kind of dark horse candidate, if not I probably don’t understand what you mean) it’s how the writers were enamored of his shiny win total (21). That year most of them just used ESPN’s stat and told it to retrieve the qualifying pitchers and order it by W. Voila, CY Young Award.

      • paperlions - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        Oh well, yeah, that too. Even though that is certainly still true of many, this isn’t 2005 anymore….if voters were given guys with those same stats this year, there is little chance they would still pick the guy with the wins…..though, as shown by the AL vote last year, there are still many that are attracted to shiny objects…and they have no problem at all completely ignoring defense and base running.

  6. somekat - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    It’s an MVP award. That stand for most VALUABLE player. Not “player with the best stats award”
    Will he do it? I don’t think so. I think Utley is going to be the Phils MVP, but clearly he could. He puts up 40/120, which he will minus a major injury, and the Phils make the playoffs, no reason he shouldn’t be in the talk

    • kiwicricket - Mar 29, 2013 at 11:10 PM

      It’s not utterly impossible that he hits 40/120.
      The problem lies in the fact that he will strike out 180times, have a relatively low OBP, be painful on the base-paths and field his his position like a sedated Rhino. It’s kinda funny how stats already tell us this.

      • somekat - Mar 29, 2013 at 11:21 PM

        how does that make him any less valuable to his team? We already know what the Phils offense looks like without Howard. The last 2 seasons show it. It’s a pathetic offense. If he comes back, and they are a top offense again because he is holding down the middle of the lineup, how does striking out or not being good on the bases make him less valuable? (your opinion of his fielding is irrelivant, since it is obiously from 5 years ago)

      • djpostl - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM

        Not enough thumbs up in the world for “field his his position like a sedated Rhino”

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        Actually I’m not that worried about his defense so long as he doesn’t try to throw to 2B. I’m struggling to find the link but I did read about one baseball defensive metric that says that 1B is not really all that important to have a good defender and for one year the most the position could cost you was 5 runs. (I think it was SAFE, but maybe the 5 was for that year only).

        And we all know MVP doesn’t factor in Defense (*cough* Trout) nor Speed (*cough* Trout) so if Howard can bump up his avg while hitting 40/120 he might have an outside chance of getting consideration.

      • spudchukar - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        I’ll second that. Nice work Kiwi, sedated Rhino, priceless!

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        180 K would actually be an improvement :)

      • evanwins - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        The stats tell us how he’s going to perform THIS year?

        Don’t tell 2011 Lance Berkman…or 2011 Fernando Rodney…or RA Dickey…or any number of the hundreds of MLB players who struggled at one time only to come back and dominate the game. Ya know, it happens a lot.

  7. jm91rs - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Espn developed the formula for former players to say something outrageous to get attention and page clicks. They do it all of the time with their football analysts. Schilling is just taking a proven formula and using it here. It’s annoying as hell to make ridiculous and bold predictions / accusations, but it generates conversation and keeps schillings name in the headlines. That’s all he wanted out of it.

  8. Jonny 5 - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Spring training stats….. I’m glad I didn’t bet I’d eat my hat if Yuniesky Betancourt hit over .350 by the end of spring or anything… Because I would have.

  9. 13arod - Mar 29, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    you never know who will be the mvp it could be a person who is a utlliy player for all we know

    • hittfamily - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      Nope. If Utility man Ben Zobrist Can’t win it in 2009 it will never happen.

    • buddaley - Mar 30, 2013 at 8:30 AM

      I don’t think that’s the point at all. Sure, “anything can happen”. I could predict that Ronny Cedeno will win the MVP in the AL and Reid Brignac wins it in the NL. Or even that each wins it in the other league.

      In the sense that “anything can happen” or “for all we know”, it is possible. But if I am supposed to be an analyst with some insight to offer, I really need to provide some reasoning beyond “for all we know” to explain or support my prediction.

      Now obviously Howard has a better chance than Brignac, but aside from hoping for or expecting some extraordinary turnaround, why propose he will be MVP? What has he done in the past 3 years to suggest that turnaround is imminent? How have more obvious candidates fared to suggest Howard will have a more impressive season than any of them-however you think voters calculate “impressive”?

      Are we back to the mystery argument of “his gut tells him so”? Are former players’ guts somehow programmed to provide some special insight?

  10. kvanhorn87 - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Haters are always going to hate. Though I don’t believe there is much chance of Howard being MVP. I can guarantee you he will finish higher than Harper. Anyone willing to take that bet? Thumbs up for Howard, thumbs down if you take Harper.

    • spudchukar - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Usually, MVP’s are awarded to teams in the play-offs. How is Howard going to do that?

  11. hittfamily - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    Here is a better prediction: Ray’s AAA affiliate the Durham Bulls have a better starting rotation than the Astros, Marlins, Orioles, Rockies, and RedSox (after July selloff).

    Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Torres, Alex Colome, Mike Montgomery, and at some point Taylor Guerrieri.

  12. sisisisisisisi - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    I guess those idiots that picked the A’s to win the American League West were all lunatics. Craig is a pussy for his picks, eg. this year predictions, they are safe and vanilla. If someone is to picked the Royals to win the Central, he’s probably a lunatic to Craig and just about everyone here. Relax people!

    • sisisisisisisi - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      * Last year A’s

      • hittfamily - Mar 30, 2013 at 3:18 AM

        That is what you decided to correct?
        Not 3 of your first 6 nouns being “idiots”, “lunatics” and “a pussy”, followed by a statement telling people to relax?

      • kiwicricket - Mar 30, 2013 at 3:52 AM

        This is the funniest comment for days on HBT. The original was an abomination, but went through the effort of correcting a minor we all understood.
        Sorry, no offense meant, but it really is funny.

  13. spudchukar - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Over at, Jeff Nelson and Frank Thomas pick the Pheelies to win the NL pennant. And they were serious.

  14. macjacmccoy - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Its possible that Howard could hit .280 with 40+ HR 150 RBI and 100 runs. And even with 200 strikeouts and average to below average defense that could get it done in the NL. Its unlikely but that’s why he got only 2 votes and not 17 like Votto. Anyone who laughs it off like its impossible is the one who is being unrealistic.

    • macjacmccoy - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      130 RBI*

  15. macjacmccoy - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Seriously I think the chances of Michael Young, Ben Revere, and this years version of Dominic Brown and Chase Utley being on base when Ryan Howard is up to bat is better then the chances of the last 2 season’s versions of Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Dominic Brown being on base when Ryan Howard is up to bat. I believe the same thing goes for Howard’s chances of being drove in while on base compared to the last 2 seasons.

    These changes to the Phillies lineup should lead to improved Run and RBI totals for the Big Piece in 2013. Not to mention what the increase in power in his legs, being nearly a year and a half removed form Achilles surgery. will do for HR totals and less obvious but just as important his balance, confidence, and base running ability.

    • spudchukar - Mar 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      What base running abilities? Unless you mean tagging all 4 bases during his seldom used home run trot. Some runners are categorized as station to station. In Howard’s case stationary to stationary is more accurate.

      • evanwins - Mar 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        His seldom used home run trot?

        Howard has more HR’s than anyone else in Major League Baseball since he came into the league. More than Pujols, more then Fielder, more than Votto, more than anyone.

        RBI’s too.

  16. vicvega422 - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I think I would respect your opinion if I knew you actually set foot in a locker room and talked to these players instead regurgitating everything you read and hear from Espn.

  17. sandrafluke2012 - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Ryan Howard will put up another 40/120 year and shut up the haters

  18. bjoe23 - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Seems unnecessary to analyze their analysis huh? That’s getting pretty desperate.

  19. bjoe23 - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    and this is a “top” story? hahaha

  20. dirtydrew - Mar 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    I don’t think we should give a rat about anything Curt Shilling. He is curt in general, and he shilled the tax paying citizens of Delaware. He is a broke, clown. Who cares what he thinks. Why don’t you find out who Lenny Dykstra thinks will win MVP. Just as relevant. Otherwise, a great insightful article.

  21. mrfloydpink - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    IF you REALLY think Ryan Howard is going to win MVP, then I have some shares in a video game company I’d like to sell you…

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