Part of

« Wednesday hangover: Onus falls on Howard, offense | Main | Game chat: Happ and Halladay have the honors »

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


For those of you that are into this sort of thing, the Braves are beating the Rockies 6-0 in the 2nd.

Not a great way for the Phils to start the day.

Oops. 7-0.

We, as fans, have a hard time admitting when a player is over the hill. In fact, we debate this about several players often.

The problem I have with all this is what the team did in 2008 and 2009. In those days we would of said Chase, Ryan, Shane, and Jayson were all in the prime of their careers'. All of a sudden they have all fallen off a Cliff (Lee) and are washed up? I don't think I'm signing on to that theory just yet.

I think you can definitely see some decline in the performance of Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez, but aside from that I think everyone else is capable of producing in line with their career numbers.

Would you have wrote this post after the Phillies clobbered the Nationals on Sunday? Chase and Ryno need to find their timing - give it some more time.

No one wants to accept that their heroes are over the hill...hence the "teamwide slump" euphemism.

Decline is inevitable, but I would give this more weight re this year if the team hadn't started the way they did.

No need to panic. I'm sure this bunch of geezers have a few more hits in their bats.

Rememeber: There has (probably) never been a WS champion team that didn't have a few losing periods.

Keep the faith. No way Howard/Utley et al can possibly keep playing this badly.

No NL team has been to three straight World Series since the early 1940s. The Phillies have been to two in a row, and as of this very moment, are leading the WC, and definitley one of the top 6 contenders to grab a spot in the playoffs. Add to that that we have probably the greatest starting 3 in baseball, a fairly reliable back end of the bullpen, and an offense that, if nothing else, is at worst league average. We are in good shape to get to the playoffs and make some noise.

If you can't enjoy this team's run then nothing will satisfy you. This team has accomplished a hell of a lot in the last 3 years. Sit back, see what they have up their sleeves, and enjoy the ride.

I was looking at a few examples (for me, this would apply to Ryno more than Chase or Vic)
Hank Aaron hit over 40 or more homers 4 times at age 32-39.
Babe hit 40 or more homers 4 times after age 34.
Hank Greenberg hit 44 at age 35
Willie Mays hit 52 at age 34 (and 37 at age 35)
Harmon Killebrew hit 41 at age 34.

There are many others. I think it's a bit premature to say that Ryno has hit his home run peak, and if it's true, age might not be the factor.

Braves looking to avoid the sweep and facing Esmil Rogers with Jurrjens on the mound for them. Can't see them losing today anyway. In better Braves news Derrek Lee is batting .105/.227/.158 since joining the team, and going into today they've lost 4 of 6. Phils are more frustrating than the team in Atlanta right now.

Jeter 36
Cano 27
Texiera 30
Posado 39
A Rod 35
Swisher 29
Granderson 29

This funk is just due to Utley/Howard's return from injuries and the Phils' lack of hitting with RISP over the past 6 games.

Phillies, despite the injuries, are 3rd in the NL in runs per game.

I think they should just fold as a franchise...I mean, what's the point of carrying on.

Who cares that we're still in the lead for the Wild Card...that's meaningless. Game over man..GAME OVER!!!!!!!!!!

Also, arguing that 30-32 year old players are "over the hill" is totally ridiculous.

MG: I agree. Still frustrating though :-\

"We, as fans, have a hard time admitting when a player is over the hill."

Most fans do. On BL however, this is pretty much the first reason given for any slump spanning more than two games.

Ryan Howard is not Babe Ruth, Harmon Killebrew, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, etc. etc.

I don't think you can point to what once in a generation Hall of Famers did to compare to Ryan Howard.

BAP (from the last thread): "And the "just plain stupid" ones are the ones who take every statement literally."

Thanks for again reminding everyone that no one should take any of what you say seriously.


The post itself is misleading even if we accept the theory. We are told a player's peak is 29. Victorino will turn 30. That means now he is 29 and at his peak. Peak at 29 means he's better than at 28, correct? So he should be better this year than last year. How does that get explained? Howard will turn 31. That means he's now 30. I can't believe there's a perceptible difference between 29 and 30. So under this theory Howard is at his peak (or very slightly past) and should be better than in the year he won MVP. Utley and Rollins will turn 32. Again, that means they're 31 now. Then, Polanco and Ruiz are characterized as special cases where the rule doesn't even apply. The facts just don't bear out this theory. In all, the Phillies are at their peaks now, not past their peaks.

We all decline with age, physically and mentally. But having long since experienced these declines, I can vouch that the physical differences between someone in their late 20s and early 30s is virtually imperceptible.

If Ryan Howard is one of the most prolific home run hitters in MLB history (which he is), isn't it reasonable to compare him to some of the other most prolific home run hitters in MLB history? Not sure how Ty Cobb and his 117 homers over 24 seasons entered the argument.

Heather, why not? Is it because he's Ryan Howard?
Look at his numbers.

This theory also explains why Halladay is having the best year of his career.

Ryan Howard is a good, even great, baseball player. But if anyone thinks his "comps" are among the top ten players to ever play the game of baseball (as Ruth and Aaron are) I am literally speechless.

Fatalotti - pitchers are different. They're not even mentioned above.

One of Howard's most comparable players according to is Willie Stargell. Check out his post age 32 seasons.

There's also a difference between a peak and a career norm. Rollins peak will probably be his 2007 season, but his career norms are significantly below that level (119 OPS+ vs 101 OPS+).

The same goes for Howard. Howard's peak may very well be his 2006 season, but that doesn't mean he won't be a highly productive player into the future if he maintains something +/- 10 to his career norms (140 OPS+).

Re: Halladay putting up a great season this year at an "older" age...Pitchers really are a different animal.


The first thing that jumps out from looking at these graphs is that pitchers seem to spread out their peak seasons far more than hitters. Although great hitters and pitchers start putting up peak seasons at age 20, the pitchers are far more likely to have a peak performance late in their careers. Just three hitters had one of their best seasons at age 38 or later (one was Barry Bonds at 39, one was Ted Williams who had his fifth best season and one was Cap Anson), and none at age 40, whereas the pitchers had 10 such seasons starting at 38 (5% of the sample) and four at 40 or 41, by which time all great hitters had tailed off. Similarly, the peak for pitchers is far less prominent than for hitters. For the hitters, 103 of the best seasons, more than half the sample, were between ages 26 and 31. For the pitchers, by contrast, at the same ages (which is also the six year span with the highest number of peak years) there are just 88 of the 200 seasons recorded. The median age for a pitcher’s top season was 29, a year later than for the hitters

i think it's important to remember that just last year we lost the World Series to a team that featured a good number of guys who were "past their prime."

The biggest issue this year has been injuries affecting guys swings, and their timing.

That should fix itself. It may not, but it should.

Heather, I'm pretty sure no one would say that Howard is among the top ten players in baseball history, or comparable in terms that he will be in the conversation...who knows. What they are saying is that what Howard has done since coming up has been literally historic. Like 4 years straight of 45+ home runs and 130+ RBI. Only been done by 3 other players, maybe you've heard of them: Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, and Babe Ruth. 3 of those players have over 600 career home runs, and two of those players are considered by many to be of the greatest to EVER play the game. So yes, when we're discussing his ability to keep up his homerun rate, it is more than justified to compare him to those names.

Fatalotti, well said. That was exactly my point (and I omitted the modern players for fun and more obvious reasons)

I see OP as comparing Howard's HR marks, I don't see him comparing Howard to Aaron or Ruth overall. If you don't even count Aaron's HR totals he still has 3000+ hits, I doubt OP thinks Howard is that prolific of a player. But it's far to compare him to some of the great HR hitters because he's already included in that list.

ATL 10

Better win tonite to maintain that ever-present 2.5 game deficit.

I meant 'fair to compare' but Fatalotti beat me to it anyway. It is fair to say I am not on Fatalotti's list of of similar posters when grammar or eloquence is taken into account on

Interesting reason why Halladay is having the best year of his career: Rich Dubee showed him a new grip on the changeup (split grip), so now he has yet another out pitch. Who said Rich Dubee can't help pitchers?

My point is that using as Howard's comps once in a century talents who number among the ten best players to ever play the game is a big stretch. It's doing them a disservice as well as Howard.

If it was done more as a hyperbole to prove a point that you personally think he'll continue churning out homers, then fine. I can understand that.

A guy can be "past his prime" but still be a very valuable player. The proverbial "falling off the cliff" scenario doesn't really happen very often -- particularly for everyday players. In the vast majority of cases, the decline is gradual. Nonetheless, if you've got a lot of players who are gradually declining, the cumulative effect can be very steep.

Well BAP told me it's ok to speak in hyperbole, so I say we all start doing it.

Heather, to being this season (and maybe even still), Howard has been hitting home runs and driving runs at an even more historic pace than those names you've posted. Why is it a disservice to them to compare Howard's ability to hit homeruns and drive in runs to their ability to do those same things? No one said that Howard was hitting as well or playing defense as well as those HOFers, just that he has been hitting homers at a better rate than those named.

Ishmael, I'm more obstreperous, verbose and loquacious than eloquent.

The fact that these guys are "over the hill" doesn't mean they need reservations at Geezer's nursing home. The typical decline is quite gradual, and most of them will presumably be quite productive for several years. More than anything else, it means that Rube needs to start folding some younger talent into the mix.

Heather, your feelings about Howard notwithstanding, it is not a stretch at all to compare home run totals to those players and it was in no way hyperbole. The numbers speak for themselves.
My original point was to point out how old those players were when they hit those homers even though they were past their "peak" years. As an all around hitter, I won't compare him to Aaron, Mays, etc., but as strictly a home run hitter, why not? He isn't a lesser player just because of his contract.

What you fail to concede, Heather, is that, though Howard may not rank with the all-timers in his overall game, he still is one of the most prolific talents of his generation, and one of the handful of names we'll be talking about in 2050.

TTI, that was the greatest post I have ever read.

curt, Yeah. We're seeing that with Rollins. Even if his power and BA drop is more age attrition than injury related, his BB increase has his value not far from his peak year norms (92 right now and climbing lately vs 101 the last few years). He also has a month or more of AB left.

The study itself separates attrition due to injury and attrition due to aging, trying to limit its results to the latter category (players with 300 PA or more in a season and 5000 PA over 10 seasons). Of the Phillies not to miss significant time due to injury, two are having their best years statistically (Werth, Ruiz), one is having a down year in the heart of his supposed prime (Vic), another is posting numbers above his career norms (Polanco), another is a notorious late season hitter, who was one of the hottest players in the NL before his injury (Howard), and the last is 38 and very likely on the downside of his power years (Ibanez).

With Rollins I'm much more concerned about his ability to stay healthy than I am about his skill set. Same goes for Utley.

"Why is it a disservice to them to compare Howard's ability to hit homeruns and drive in runs to their ability to do those same things?"

Because they were quite simply once in a century talents. They broke pretty much all the accepted rules. It was a shock even to a lot of the other folks around them that these HOF guys aged as well as they did. (Cobb thought Ruth would be great for a few years and then fall off.) What I'm trying to say is that assuming ANYONE will age as well as these guys is pretty much a stretch, making their usefulness as comps about zero.

As stated though, if the point of the comp was just to use a little hyberole to say, "Keep your chins up, guys! It's possible Howard can continue to produce!" then fine. I get that point.

Truth: Hyperbole's not a persuasive argument technique. But I'm not arguing a case to the U.S. Supreme Court when I post on Beerleaguer.

When I've just wasted 5 hours of my evening watching my team go down haplessly to one of the worst teams in baseball, I (and many others) frequently make comments which are designed more to colorfully convey a point than to do so persuasively (i.e., "Roy Oswalt had just as much a chance of getting a hit as Ryan Howard"). It's called satire; it's not supposed to be taken literally, as a point for debate. Unfortunately, Beerleaguers are not great at detecting satire, even when it's decidedly lacking in subtlety (i.e., "Roy Oswalt had just as much a chance of getting a hit as Ryan Howard").

"As stated though, if the point of the comp was just to use a little hyberole to say, "Keep your chins up, guys! It's possible Howard can continue to produce!" then fine. I get that point."

No, that wasn't it at all. But thanks for playing.

"No, that wasn't it at all. But thanks for playing"

Old Phan, go to any serious, stat minded baseball site that is non Phillies related, and try to start a serious discussion in which you posit that Ryan Howard's comps are Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.

I'd love to see it.

@MG -- from previous thread... re: LA, i just meant you get on him alot when he goes after the umpires...

BAP: So basically you're saying in lieu of forming an intelligent thought people should just use hyperbole when they are angry.

Are you incapable of forming an opinion about Howard batting there without resorting to hyperbole? I would think you are not.

Heather, strictly in terms of homerun hitting ability and RBI producing ability, so far in his career, Howard has done both at as prolific a pace as any of these "once in a century talents". To assume he won't continue on such a path is a positive claim that you are free to make, but it is simply the null hypothesis to assume that he will continue on such a trajectory. It is you who is making an unfounded claim.

Given Howard's career to this point, as far as HRs and RBIs are concerned, and looking at how it is compares to other "greats" in baseball history, we have no reason but to assume he will follow upon a reasonable trajectory like these other "once in a century talents", because up to this point, Howard has been a "once in a century talent" when it's come to HRs and RBIs. What he has done has been LITERALLY HISTORIC!

The Phils are -370 on the Money Line tonight. If they drop this game after last night's debacle and a probable Braves win, JW's hit count on Beerleaguer might set some sort of record.

If JC Bradbury's observations are correct, all of the Phillies over 30 guys would be playing elsewhere if Rube took a page from the Joe Banner 'How To Build A Team While Angering An Entire City' book. Howard would never have gotten the contract he just signed.

I happen to like having some veteran guys on the team, but keeping the balance interspersed with enough young guys to keep the line up replenished and bring that extra energy to the ball park every game is important. I always thought baseball, unlike football and other physical sports, was a slow enough game where wit and guile could overcome some speed deficiencies. Maybe I was wrong.

Well the important thing is that we have Howard signed for 6 more years at a yearly value that assumes he'll remain in his prime the entire time.

bap: Wait... so you're saying Roy Oswalt DIDN'T have just as much of a chance as getting a hit last night as Ryan Howard? I think that's open for debate.

"Given Howard's career to this point, as far as HRs and RBIs are concerned"

Maybe this is where I misunderstood the previous argument, because I don't think you can just comp someone on the basis of HRs and RBIs and literally ignore everything else and then proclaim a successful comp.

It's like comparing pitchers using W-L (about as useful of a stat as RBIs) and strikeouts.

At least we don't have Howard signed through age 42, and he's 35 and already showing signs of being injury plagued the remainder of his contract.'s most comparable players to Howard (in more recent eras - Hank Greenberg is in top 5 but played during WWII era, missed seasons due to it, but also hit 44 at age 35) -- HR age 32 season and after

- McGriff: 204
- Thome: 247 (and counting)
- Fielder: 69
- McCovey: 208
- Ortiz: 78 (and counting)
- Stargell: 231

Truth: I think there is ample room on Beerleaguer for both intelligent discussion and snide venting about the pathetic state of our offense.

While RBIs must always be considered with qualifications, it tells a whole hell of a lot more about a player than does W/L record, in my opinion.

Rockies coming back . . . .

The game is getting younger and the Phils are getting older.

The Phils better start putting a few more 20 something's on the field soon or the offense will only get worse in the near future.

Old guys tend to get hurt a lot too, BTW.

I agree with BAP on the satire point. I compare BL to a 'virtual corner bar', where quick witted comments from the patrons, or in this case the bloggers, for all to hear is what makes the experience worth leaving the house for. What fun is it to snap off one liners or complain to an empty living room? guys like Andy, Old Phan, BAP, Sophist, Fatalotti, MG, etc. keep me LOL for hours some nights (or the next day).

On occasion, I join in the fun. Other nights, I just enjoy reading the comments. Games in which they trail or lose, usually provide more hours of reading pleasure. It's a fact of BL. If guys get annoyed at that, try a different bar that suits you better. It's all in good fun. As for the ladies, if that is in fact what you really are, grab a beer or a jock strap and enjoy the banter. It's what men like to do. Boys will be boys. Those who get offended easily, need not apply.

"While RBIs must always be considered with qualifications, it tells a whole hell of a lot more about a player than does W/L record, in my opinion."

Meh, the reason I used that analogy is the RBIs and pitcher wins not only tell us about the pitcher but also about the team. One isn't going to get a lot of RBIs or a lot of wins without being at least halfway decent, but the amount of wins and the amount of RBIs is also greatly affected by how good/bad your teammates are.

I think you might have a point that RBIs are slightly more relevant than pitcher wins but the basic argument is still the same that both statistics represent an amalgamation of individual + team that muddles the contribution of the single player.


The comments to this entry are closed.

EST. 2005

Top Stories


Rotoworld News

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Contact Weitzel