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Monday, September 15, 2008


PhillR: When do you think Ryan Howard "turned his season around?"

Since May 10th:
267/347/587, 38 HR, 116 RBI, 113 games

Ryan Howard had a terrible first month of the season. Since then, well, the numbers don't lie.

Congrats to Ryan on a great run here in late August and September, but if either Howard or Delgado is named MVP, the BBWAA loses whatever credibility it had left.

Albert Pujols should be the MVP. Berkman, Wright, Delgado, Howard, and even Jose Reyes should all get votes, but Pujols is the best by far.

I never subscribed to the notion that the MVP has to play for a playoff team. If that's the rule, then we have to take away Howard's award from 2006. MVP is for the best player, period. That's Pujols. Besides, he does play for a contending team. Like the 2006 Phillies, the Cardinals are probably going to fall a few games short but they would have fallen about 20 games short without Pujols.

Maybe voters won't give in to the temptation of voting for Howard or Delgado. Pujols is head and shoulders the best. The Phillies season has been guided by their pitching, not Howard.


In a year where other "stars" all have serious asterisks, it may be time to honor the actual best player for a change, regardless of his team's all around suckiness.

I agree with BAP.

Jason, I think Soto's rookie status will lose him votes. Many won't vote for him as MVP because they'll have voted for him as ROTY.

wilson - I answered your question (albeit briefly) about the odds reports at the end of the previous thread.

If I lived outside of Philly or NYC, I'd be pretty confused if Howard or Delgado won MVP.

Jayson Stark or someone like that had the stat of who had the most baserunners to drive in and Wright was either 1st or right up there. He actually is among the league leaders in baserunners not driven in.

Plus, if you listen to Mets fans, he's not all that clutch. They chant MVP for Delgado, not Wright.

I don't know, BobbyD. Howard will finish the season as the leader in HR and RBI, it seems. Delgado's play has received a lot of press. Both of their BA will probable finish up at semi-respectable marks. My thinking is that those outside of the markets will be less familiar with their terrible play early in the season and more familiar with their play down the stretch and their final HR/RBI figures.

Just a guess though.

For what it's worth, I think MVP should be a mix of numbers and the "worth" one represents to a team. It's going to depend on the year, obviously.

That's why Jimmy Rollins won last year--his numbers were stellar, but when a team doesn't lose a game after June 1 when player X scores (as the Phillies did in JRoll games), then I think there's a strong case to be made there. Also, 20-20-20-20 didn't hurt. If someone had insane numbers last year--beyond those of Matt Holliday--it likely would have been no contest. But it was close enough that the "intangible" guy got it.

I look to 1998. I think Mark McGwire deserved it that year, simply for the reason that he mashed 70 and was truly the focus. But it went to Sammy Sosa because his numbers were right there AND he had the benefit of going to playoffs.

Based on the schedules for the Mets and the Brewers and Astros.

I'm officially a Cubs fan.

Imagine if Howard did win MVP though?


Klaus: You just made my day

"Frankly I view with relish the US's transformation into a Russian-style Kleptocracy--where the smack is cheap and the sexual mores lax"

Also, say all you want about the Phillies not winning enough earlier in the year, we all love a tight race - masochists, front runners, die hards - all of us.

Is there any doubting that Rollins firstly, and Howard secondly are the engine that makes the lineup run?
Its nice when Utley or Vic or PtB or others are hot and are contributing. But when Rollins and Howard are doing their thing, it all seems to work.

EFF - Wright is the Met leader in EqA, VORP, and OPS+.

He's also the team leader in boring stats like BA, OBP, and SLG.

BobbyD: Good point.

I'll ask this of the BL experts...

Do any of you truly now believe that Ryan Howard will get, at best, a $1 million dollar raise this year?

Do any of you truly believe the Phils can get away with an arbitration number of $11 or $12 million?

If they want to lose again, they'll go that route.

we all love a tight race

Kinda makes me wish the Astros would be the WC and we'd get to play them for the League Championship.

For old times' sake.


And the day the MVP voters base their votes on EqA VORP and OPS+ is the day those players will win MVPs.

MVP voters look at RBIs, HRs and BA. If you can juice it up with doubles and triples and SBs your chances are even better.

Beltran I believe led his team in those kinda stats you cited last year, and Wright was the one that was supposed to be MVP if it was going to go to a Met.

thanks sophist...much appreciated

More on VORP:

Yes, Wright leads the Mets, but just barely over Reyes, probably passed him with Reyes' September slump.

Pujols blows everyone else away, though.

EFF - Apologies. I thought you were making an argument that Wright doesn't deserve MVP or that his good numbers are a mirage.

One thing about VORP to remember is that it's position-specific. Pujols blows everyone away despite playing a less offense-starved position.

Sophist, you're probably right about this:

"My thinking is that those outside of the markets will be less familiar with their terrible play early in the season and more familiar with their play down the stretch and their final HR/RBI figures."

As Phillies fans, we might all enjoy watching Howard hoist another MVP trophy atop his mantle, however Pujols is the most deserving based on the criteria by which it should be awarded, but is often debated.

I can say with a certain amount of confidence however, that the FO is praying Ryno doesn't take home that hardware as BobbyD points out. Post Season Awards = $$$ paid out. That's never been a welcome sight for this ownership, nor should we expect it to ever become one.

Sorry if this has been discussed already, but the BP postseason odds page ( lists the following:

NL East W L Pct3 Avg W Avg L Champions Wild Card Playoffs
Mets 83 65 1539. 91.1 70.9 61.73690 18.85868 80.59557
Phillies 83 67 1539. 90.3 71.7 38.16490 29.34496 67.50986
Brewers 83 67 1511. 89.2 72.8 .78055 35.53106 36.31161
Dodgers 77 72 1513. 84.7 77.3 98.03165 .00000 98.03165

Notice how the Brewers are given a higher likeihood of being the WC, if only because the phils are still given a half-decent shot at the division.

67% for the playoffs isn't bad, but let's not get overexcited quite yet. By any standard, we'd rather be in LA's lucky shoes (or chicago's well deserved ones).

Metsblog has changed their Magic Number graphic. Gone is the Phanatic stalking Mr. Met. In it's place is an Edgardo Alfonso #13 jersey.


wilson - Dicke just pointed out a reason the Phils WC odds are lower than the Brewers that I forgot. There are situations in which the Phils finish better than the Brewers, but win the division. 19% of the time, according to Dicke's numbers, the Mets win the WC, meaning that - in combination with the WC finishes - the Phils have just about a 50% chance of finishing the year with a better record than the Brewers.

Howard should have the inside track for the MVP for Sept...Pujols is the season MVP though.

If Pujols doesn't win the MVP, it's a joke. Can anyone even bother to make an argument for anyone else? The guy is the best pure hitter in the league, a top 5 power hitter, and a gold-glove defender. He doesn't have a weakness in his game. He's quite obviously the best player in the NL. He should basically be the default winner every year unless someone else does something truly extraordinary.

Mr. Mack: Considering the team does run on a budget, any more money given to Howard means money taken away from other areas of the team. So really, as fans of the Phillies, we should be hoping Howard doesn't win hardware as well.

I wouldnt mind if Ryno wins a WS MVP...but thats just me.

He should basically be the default winner every year unless someone else does something truly extraordinary.

Well said. Exactly right.

I wouldnt mind if Ryno wins a WS MVP...but thats just me.

You're too selfish. Try to be more of a team player, NEPP.

NEPP: I don't think any of us can argue with that.

Sorry, but I never realized that the "V" in MVP stands for "player with the best stats."

I always thought that it stands for "valuable." In that sense, Howard is at least a legitimate contender. How can anyone question that a guy who leads the league in RBI shouldn't be a contender? If, as PhillR keeps contending, RBI is a stat that only reflects the OBP of the players in front of him, then RBI wouldn't be a significant metric of "value." But given Howard's average with runners on base and runners in scoring position, his RBI total is a reflection that he has done the best job in the league of knocking in the runners that HAVE been on base ahead of him. What is of more value to a team than that?

If I had a vote, it would go for Lidge. Can there be any doubt that Lidge has been more valuable to his team than any other player in the league? Could anyone who does doubt that please explain their logic to me?

phlipper: Oh, please.

Think about can't bring a LOOGY in to defang Pujols because his splits are pretty even. Guys like Ankiel and Ludwick wouldn't get nearly as many balls to hit if Pujols isn't there. He transforms a lineup like no other player can. There aren't holes in his swing like Howards. The Cards without Pujols are probably a 60 win team...with him they compete every year.

This is not to Bash Ryno.

And one more thing. I agree that Pujols is the best player in the league - but that doesn't mean that he was necessarily the most "valuable" player to his team. Obviously, Pujols should be in consideration as well as Delgado (again, based on his "value" to his team), and a few others - but it isn't a slam dunk or a case where he should be the "default winner."

there is a "player of the week" award and a "player of the month" category. I think Ry How deserves on of those at least.
But MVP for having the first half he did?
It just doesnt seem right.

Why not tallyup "players of the weeks" and "players of the month" to help in the decision?

Anyone have the list or have the link to it?

phlipper: Your absurd choice for MVP totally disproved everything you had said previously in your argument

phlipper: Oh, please.

BAP, please explain. Is it your contention that MVP means "best player?" If it did, then it should be Pujols and A-Rod by default every year, shouldn't it? Why bother even voting? The award could be handed out simply on the basis of statistical evaluation.

BAP, please explain.

sorry, forgot to turn off the itals

The guy who is the best player IS the most valuable to his team, by definition. The fact that Pujols has crappy teammates does not make him any less valuable to his team. What do you think the Cardinals' record would be without him? I think you can safely say it would be at least 10 games worse.

BAP, where would the Phils be w/o Lidge? Would they be even close to contention? Imagine inserting Madson, Romero, et. al., for all of Lidge's save opportunities. The Phils would have been out of the race long ago.

did that work?

Let me try turning them off again.

Uh oh, I'm in trouble now.

BAP - I didn't say that Pujols shouldn't be in contention. I merely said that it isn't a slam dunk, and that Howard should be in contention also.

phlipper: Or, far more likely, they would have found some other closer who isn't as good as Lidge but is still reasonably good.

I do not mean to downplay Lidge's importance to the team this year. But a guy who plays 60 innings as the MVP of the entire league? Give me a break.

Lidge obviously isn't the league MVP, but given the teams undefeated record when leading after 8 he's gotta be the team MVP. While the offense has had guys get hot at diffrent times, Lidge has been hot pretty much all of the time.

BAP - a hypothetical about who they might have replaced them with isn't an issue. Theoretically, the Cards might have been able trade a bag of balls for A-Rod if Pujols had gone down. The MVP is a measure of the value of a player's performance to his team this year. Given that, I'd say that Lidge has been incredibly important to the Phils this year.

phlipper: The "where would they be without so-and-so" argument could be made for about 50 players. Where would the Phillies be without Utley? Or Burrell? Or Rollins (You want Bruntlett starting everyday at SS?)? Where would the Mets be without Santana or Wright or Delgado? Or the Astros without Berkman? Or the D-backs without Valverde or Brandon Webb? Or the Brewers without Sabathia or Sheets or Braun? Or the Dodgers without Manny?

I don't know if there are any specific rules regarding about of playing time in conjunction with MVP voting, but I think a serious case could be made for Manny deserving it.

There aren't any playing time rules and Manny will likely get a few votes if the Dodgers make the playoffs.

Jack - "Considering the team does run on a budget, any more money given to Howard means money taken away from other areas of the team. So really, as fans of the Phillies, we should be hoping Howard doesn't win hardware as well."

You're right about that one Jack. It just amazes me that with a record number of sell-outs this season, that none of that profit will go back into the team to sign players who may be worthy or to improve the organization in some other way. I wouldn't even mind if they used the money to shore up their scouting and minor league system, but we all know that money is going straight into the owner's pockets and they will just leave things as they are.

I would thoroughly LOL if Howard won the MVP. Of course all of these accolades are a crock-- MVP, Golden Glove, etc. But I'd still enjoy it in a perverse kind of way.

One of the great all-time arguments in all sports, but especially baseball it seems, is the time tested, stats vs value to the team theory, when it comes to MVP voting. It is nice that for the past few seasons a Phillies player is even mentioned in the voting, let alone winning it. It sort of makes up for all of the years that we wished we had players like that suiting up in red pinstripes, as we Phillie fans wallowed in mediocrity or worse when it came to quality of players on the team.

There's no question Lidge has been the most valuable Philly this season. Imagine if you had the Met bullpen this season, this race wouldn't been over months ago. The guy has been a rock.

It's gonna make that first blown save that much sweeter, cause it's gonna be in a huge spot.

As much as I like to see a Phils player win any award, I don't believe that they the one player that had the overwhelming performance made the difference this year (like J-Roll did last year).

WPA, which is weighted so that a hit in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th is many, many times more valuable than a solo HR when your team is up 10, has Pat Burrell as the most valuable Phillie. This is not particularly close. Utley is also ahead of Howard. Berkman is the MVP of the NL by this stat by a large margin.

1. As I've stated before, Pujols is so obviously the MVP. If it's a close race then the storyline/situational stuff becomes more relevant. But this year he has been SO much better than everyone else.

2. My vote is for Happ on Wednesday. He's been good in the games he's started this year. Also, Kendrick has been atrocious lately, AND the Braves can throw out a leftie heavy lineup. It seems like an obvious choice to me if the options are KK/Happ/Eaton.

3. I don't see the Brewers as done at all. For one, teams can get inexplicably hot just as easily as they can go inexplicably cold. And two, as someone mentioned last thread, they have Sabathia/Sheets pitching 6 of their last 12 games. If those guys pitch like they can then momentum doesn't matter.

4. This weekend was awesome. It's great to root for a team than can entertain you like the Phillies can. I think winning each series to go 8-4 would get us into the playoffs, and I think WC and division are about equal possibilities.

@Dave X -- that makes no sense... because the general consensus in Philly is that Pat Burrell is NOT CLUTCH.

And as of late here on Beerleaguer, neither is Utley.

I'm so confused. :)

I know writers don't consider this, but once we inject the nebulous idea of value into the debate, I'll just post the NL leaders in VORP (value over replacement player) this year. VORP is position-specific and does not consider defense.

Pujols - 91
Berkman - 76.8
Hanley - 72.9
Chipper - 70.2
Holliday - 61.9
Wright - 60.2
Reyes - 59.4
Utley - 56.5
Beltran - 50.5
McCann - 48.7
McClouth - 48.6
Ludwick -- 44
Carlos Lee -42.6
Uggla - 42.5

Put me in the camp that believes there is a difference between Most Outstanding Player and Most Valuable Player.

I happen to believe that absent a monsterous performance, proximity to the playoff hunt is a huge factor in who wins the MVP. I also believe that a performance in September is significantly more important than a performance in April.

I also believe that voters don't look at things like OPS+ or VORP or WPA or EqA and that it's a lot easier to be wowed by the HRs and RBIs.

This all makes Ryan Howard a legitimate contender for the MVP award yet again, whether the stat heads will have an aneurysm over it or not.

That he's even in the discussion is a testament to Ryan Howard's amazing skills, especially considering where he was on May 9th.

Re MVP, Pujols reminds me of Michael Jordan's prime. MJ deserved MVP EVERY year, and he usually got it; except for the years where players like Karl Malone or Barkley did something exceptional. MJ still even deserved MVP in those years, but the voters seemingly got tired of voting for the same guy every year, and were in the mood for a change of pace.

Of course, the difference is that Pujols only won MVP once. He is inexplicably the most unappreciated, under-the-radar superstar of this era.

VORP for pitchers

Lincecum - 69.7
Santana - 60.9
Sheets - 54.2
Hamels - 52.6
Moyer - 36.8
Myers - 29.5
Lidge - 23.8
Durbin - 22.5
Madson - 20.3
Romero - 17.6

Sophist, where does Manny fall in that category?

By the way, nothing I wrote above changes the fact that Albert Pujols is far and away the best player in the game and the most fearsome hitter in baseball.

flipper: And if they didn't have Howard they'd still be in the race? Oh, please!

sophist or someone: What pct of the time has the MVP gone to a player whose team didn't make the playoffs? I bet less than 30%.

Tim Lincecum is awesome and why they are saying that he isn't hands down the NL Cy Young favorite is beyond me. If he pitched for any team in NY or Boston, he would have had it locked up a month ago.

I said it at the beginning of the season and I will say it again, based on pure potential and ability, I covet Lincecum and wish we had him in the red pinstripes.

sophist: Great example of why VORP is usually a joke as a way of comparing players.

Speaking of MVPs

Rollins' OPS+ is now 103. His line is .279/.347/.443 which is now right in line with his PECOTA .286/.344/.462.

From Opening Day until May 18th Rollins batted: .342/.381/.570 -- 9 2B, 3 HR in 21 G.

From May 19th until Aug 24th Rollins batted: .236/.308/.375 -- 18 2B, 8 3B, 5 HR in 85 G.

From Aug 25th until the present: .407/.479/.617 -- 6 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR in 20 G.


Manny's VORP is 35.6 (180 PA.) Andre Ethier's is 36.7 (545 PA.)
Between BOS and LAN, Manny's VORP is 70.7.

LAN pre Manny: 54-54
LAN post Manny: 23-17

Manny's OPS+ with LAN is 109.


Hey guys. How about this rhetorical question...or is it? Who would we rather have here in Philly playing 1B, Ryno or Pujols? For those who migh have answered Howard; Who would we rather have this year?

doubleh: Lincecum looks great... but he's a likely candidate for a major arm injury the way they're treating him.

After just 32 IP in 2006 in the minors, Lincecum threw 177 innings last year and is already at 207 this year with a few starts left.

In addition, in his last four starts, he's thrown 138, 127, 92 and 132 pitches. He's averaged 114 pitches per start in his last 15 starts.

Mr. Mack: I'm not sure anyone would really choose Ryan Howard over Pujols. I mean... I'm one of Ryan Howard's biggest fans, but Pujols is a better offensive and defensive player.

I can't imagine any team not choosing Albert over whoever they have at 1st.

You know Pujols problem (if you can call it that) is his consistency..

From year to year... he virtually puts up the same exact numbers... which are phenemonal...

but he has yet... to put up an earth shattering historic...

I'll call it the Ted Williams Paradox... the epitome of consistency... and even when he DID put up historic numbers... He won the triple crown twice (once hitting over .400) and did not win the MVP in those years -- 1942 and 1947. of course Williams issue was the heavy New York media bloc that hurt him. Yogi Berra won 3 MVPs. Williams won just two.


clout - since '95 it's happened 4 times in the NL. Larry Walker in 1997. Bonds in '01 and '04. Howard in '06. It's happened once in the AL, when ARod won it with the Rangers in '03.

CJ: Well, that's a shame. They should trade him to us before that happens. ;-)

I guess that's just a testament to why the Giants don't have a better record...

Good points, Mike.
Slight correction, Teddy Ballgame hit .400 in '41 - not in his triple crown year.

Hey, guys. I am writing this in full blown HTML, so I hope it looks right. Never tried this on typepad.

This is a seperate discussion altogether. But what's everyone's take on the's article about our Phillies pursuing CC Sabathia during the offseason?

It might require a seperate thread alltogether, but nonetheless, it is a good distraction.

Or maybe Weitzel could canjole Doc over at to give us some space to post comments?

Ooohhh... It worked. Typepad, at least as how Beerleaguer set it up, defined, understands raw HTML code. Cool...

Sophist: I argue that it's as important to be in a real playoff hunt as it is to actually make the playoffs.

In 2001 and 2004, Bonds' Giants finished just 2 games out of first. In 2006, Howard's Phillies finished 3 games out of the Wild Card.

However, in 1997, Walker's Rockies were 7 games out of first and in 2003, A-Rod's Rangers were among the worst in baseball. I think in those cases, we had a player with a tremendous offensive season coupled with the absense of a great candidate on a contending team.

In 2003, A-Rod edged Delgado, although Delgado had a better OPS that year. Shockingly, Shannon Stewart finished 4th that year based largely on his big impact on the Twins run to the division crown that year.

In 1997, Walker beat out Piazza who's Dodgers finished second, but Walker's offensive year was significantly superior (49 HR, 33 SB, 1.172 OPS). I think that was before everyone tossed out the Rockies' offensive stats because they played in Colorado.

Clout: Why was Sophist's post an example of VORP being a joke? To me it looked pretty accurate, that Pujols is by far the best player in the league, with Berkman, Hanley and Chipper in a group behind him, and Holliday, Wright, Reyes and Utley in the tier just below that. That sounds about right for this season. Unless you think Delgado and Howard are suddenly the two best players in the league?

@bonehead -- looks like i'm the bonehead, thanks! That will teach me to not re-read Summer of 41 every couple of years. bad form. He was just 22 years old in 1941. His OPS was 1.287. He fell 5 RBI short of a triple crown that year. Those darn meaningless RBI.

on Lincecum: i read a great article on about how his father has been honing his mechanics since he was very young. Based on what the article says, I would be surprised if he had a major arm injury.

Squonk: My take is that the Phillies have finally mastered the game of offseason PR. Rather than declaring themselves out of the running like they used to do, they now make half-hearted pushes for free agents they know they won't get. They'll go after CC like they went after Rowand -- making an offer they know the free agent can (and will) refuse.

btw... i know the book is "summer of 49" i was trying to be funny....

these day after day night doubleheaders are tough.

If the measure of an MVP is value to the team he plays for, I might have to vote for Nate McLouth. Pretty perverse, I think. Still, would be nice if a guy like that popped out of Reading/ LV.

Sophist, it looks like Manny's OPS+ with the Dodgers is 207 (you may have been looking at his TB since joining them, which is 109). He's been other-wordly since coming to LA.

squonk - My answer to that question, addressed when I first saw the article was, roughly paraphrased:

"Ha hah ahah ahahahaha
hee hee hee hee heee

har har har har...

O that's rich."

Opps. Thanks, Mike. That was surprisingly low. Those are his total bases.

If Pujols doesn't win the MVP this year, it is a travesty. No one player means more to his team and his sole presence in the lineup make other player better because of the pitches they see. Ludwick might be a nice story but my bet is if he played any other lineup he wouldn't have put nearly the same number.

Remember when we had the debate in '06 about whether Howard or Pujols was the better player? Well in '08 there is no real debate.

Pujols is arguably the best defensive player at his position in the entire league and offensively he is a superior player to Howard in just about every facet (except maybe for the raw power but if Pujols played in CBP for 81 games/had a better lineup around him I bet his HR total would be back up the 40s.

I don't care if the Cards aren't a playoff team. They have been in playoff contention for a majority of the year. Not giving the MVP to Pujols on this criteria is absurd.

Last point - if the Phils could trade Howard for Pujols straight up, I would do it a hearbeat. Pujols is still going to be a productive player in 7 years (less power but still a decent AVG/OBP). I don't think you can say the same for Howard.

Mike - Those bright lights, the time change and the smog have certainly helped Manny put up phenomenal numbers since going over to the LAD.

John - Couldn't agree more. I have been saying that about the Phillies FO/PR Dept for quite some time now, much to the displeasure of a few fellow posters...I didn't point at you MC!

Speaking of Mike Cunningham - Great analogy using Ted Williams. You are right on when you use Pujols as the player who's parallel universe is intertwined with Williams. I think we can all agree that Albert is hands down the best all around player, year after year in the NL. With his size, I wouldn't mind seeing him play some NFL football in the off season. Tight End material. What's his time in the 40? Lol.

my vote for MVP would be sabathia, regardless of how the brewers finish. webb gets cy young, soto ROY.

Last point - Pujols is the best hitter of his generation by a long-shot. Everybody gets all excited about ARod's chase for the HR record but just look at Pujols' offensive numbers. The sick thing is that his numbers with men on and RISP are even better/borderline ridiculous.

If there was one guy I would want up in the bottom of the 9th with season on the line in all of MLB, it would be Pujols.

Mack: The smog out here should be classified as a PED.

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