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Thread: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

  1. #1
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    Default Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com...=.jsp&c_id=phi


    Because the Phillies missed the playoffs, will that hurt Ryan Howard's chances of winning the National League MVP Award?
    -- Roman V., Philadelphia
    It shouldn't, but it might. Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols, Howard's chief competition with voters, are still playing and have each played a large part in their team's success. Voting for the MVP ended before the postseason began, but the Mets wouldn't have built such a big lead in the National League East if not for Beltran's huge first half, and Pujols carried the Cardinals all season, including hitting an important home run on Sept. 29 when the Cardinals were reeling. That said, Howard put together one of the all-time great seasons in Major League history in leading the Phillies to a better record than the Cardinals.
    After the trading deadline firesale, Howard brought the Phillies back into the Wild Card picture. He swatted 14 homers and drove in 41 RBIs in August, and totaled 23 homers and 62 RBIs in the season's final two months. Teams refused to pitch to him down the stretch, a further indication of the respect he was generating. Howard did all he could, but it wasn't enough. Many of his teammates, while clearly biased, wondered where they would be without Howard, while opposing managers like Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker and Phil Garner said he was their choice for MVP.
    Perhaps the best argument for Howard's phenomenal season comes from reader Tim Mello, who did some research on baseball-reference.com. He found that Howard's 2006 performance would have won the Triple Crown in three different years, once in the NL (1988) and twice in AL (1968 and 1945).
    In 1988, Tony Gwynn (Padres) hit .313, Darryl Strawberry (Mets) slugged 39 homers and Will Clark (Giants) drove in 109 runs. In 1968 -- the famous "Year of the Pitcher" -- Boston's Carl Yastrzemski hit .301, Frank Howard (Senators) hit 44 homers and Ken Harrelson (Red Sox) drove in 109 runs. Finally, in 1945, Snuffy Stirnweiss (Yankees) hit .309, Vern Stephens (Browns) belted 24 homers and Nick Etten (Yankees) drove in 111.
    Feel free to discuss the merits of Howard's season, and how he would've fared against Bob Gibson in 1968, but this is interesting enough to pass along.
    I hear Randy Wolf may not be back next season. I think this would be a big mistake. After all the team and Wolf went through to get back, they want to dump him? I say keep him -- he's too valuable!
    -- Mark C., Sauquoit, N.Y.

    Don't throw out your No. 43 jersey just yet. Both sides have spoken and at least seem interested in having further conversations. Wolf described his return as a "definite possibility" at the end of the season, whatever that means. Neither side is concerned about Wolf's left elbow, as the pitcher showed velocity as he progressed, reaching 94 mph in the final week. Both sides also realize that pitchers fare much better in the second year removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, so the upside for the 30-year-old is good. The issue likely will come down to Wolf's worth against a weaker free-agent market for pitchers. After Barry Zito, who likely won't be signed by the Phillies, Wolf falls into a group of fellow lefties that includes Ted Lilly, Andy Pettitte and Jamie Moyer, whose return is also uncertain. The right-handed group includes Jason Schmidt, Greg Maddux, Tony Armas, Kerry Wood, Adam Eaton, Gil Meche and old favorite Vicente Padilla. Wolf may present a reasonably-priced option, depending on how much of a pay cut from last season's $9 million he's willing to accept.

    Once again the Phillies' season was killed by a slow start in April and they barely missed the playoffs again. What can the Phillies do early next year not to waste another hot September?
    -- Kirit, location unknown

    They can start by hypnotizing Jimmy Rollins into believing that every month is September, because his hot stretches have coincided with the Phillies' success over the past two seasons. Though he batted .268 in April, his 17 runs scored were his lowest monthly total. Obviously, it's not all on Rollins. The pitching staff compiled a 5.03 ERA in April, and that led to a 10-14 month. In going 18-10 in September, the Phillies' team ERA was 3.83.
    Driving the point home further, the Phillies compiled a 5.48 ERA in April and June (their two worst months) while going 19-32. In their two best months (May and September), pitchers had a 3.84 ERA and the team went 35-21.
    Also keep in mind that an inconsistent Ryan Madson, a bad Jon Lieber and an awful Gavin Floyd made up the rotation in April, and September contained an effective Moyer, an improved Lieber and a brilliant Cole Hamels. A solid start from Lieber, Hamels and Brett Myers is what may ultimately determine how long their season lasts.
    Because we have all winter to ponder next year's lineup, what about Rollins batting fifth to protect Howard if they can't land someone else to lead off? Shane Victorino looks like he could lead off. Also, what outfield spots do Victorino and Aaron Rowand play on Opening Day?
    -- Mark M., Ephrata, Pa.

    Victorino's abilities will have Manuel at least considering the possibility of moving Rollins down, though he has said many times that he likes Rollins and Victorino at the top. And with good reason -- Rollins tied for the third-most runs scored in the Majors, and led all NL leadoff hitters. While Rollins' developing power might be intriguing, it's probably not going to affect the decision. It's more likely that the Phillies will acquire some five-hole protection for Howard and leave Rollins to his familiar role as one of baseball's better leadoff hitters.
    As for Rowand and Victorino, they'll be in center field and right field, respectively, assuming both are on the team's Opening Day roster.
    Chris Coste has been a tremendous asset for the Phillies this year. Why isn't he mentioned for Rookie of the Year honors?
    -- Kevin M., Houston
    Coste accomplished so much this season in arriving in the Majors at 33, then hitting enough to earn the bulk of the catching duties in September. While his .328 average and seven homers in 198 at-bats were impressive, they wouldn't earn him the title of the best rookie on the Phillies. That distinction belongs to Hamels. Looking at the bigger picture, NL rookies Ryan Zimmerman (Washington), Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla (Florida) are the potential Rookie of the Year candidates, and each is deserving.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    anything we can assume or take from this?

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by IladelphiaPA
    anything we can assume or take from this?
    Whoever thought Coste would be a ROY candidate is an idiot

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Not to pull a TJD on this one (sorry TJD) but this guy seems to agree with my thought that if Rowand is on the team, he is in CF next year.
    That's not old school that's good school.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    No burrell questions kinda intrigues me. I am sure he got a few to more than a few.

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    I don't mind Mandel but he often cites some pretty worthless information. Does it really matter whether Howard's season would have been good enough to win triple crowns in three different years? His main competitor is Albert Pujols, whose numbers also would have won the triple crown in 1988...as well as 1980, 1982, 1983, 1991, and 1992. And that's only the NL and I didn't even check before 1980.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by LWolf
    Not to pull a TJD on this one (sorry TJD) but this guy seems to agree with my thought that if Rowand is on the team, he is in CF next year.
    I'm not offended by you pointing out that someone elses opinion aligns with yours. Am I missing something?

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by LWolf
    Not to pull a TJD on this one (sorry TJD) but this guy seems to agree with my thought that if Rowand is on the team, he is in CF next year.
    Yup. Vic's got the best arm, which typically goes in RF. He's also familiar with it, where Rowand is only familiar w/CF.

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by Domino427
    Yup. Vic's got the best arm, which typically goes in RF. He's also familiar with it, where Rowand is only familiar w/CF.
    Rowand's only played exclusively CF the last 2 seasons, but he was the White Sox 4th OF for a couple of years. I can't see how you can sacrifice Victorino's range in CF.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rowanaa01.shtml
    Last edited by pdorazio00; 10-10-2006 at 08:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by thejerseydevil
    I'm not offended by you pointing out that someone elses opinion aligns with yours. Am I missing something?
    I was just breaking your balls, you aren't missing something.
    That's not old school that's good school.

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by pdorazio00
    Rowand's only played exclusively CF the last 2 seasons, but he was the White Sox 4th OF for a couple of years. I can't see how you can sacrifice Victorino's range in CF.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/rowanaa01.shtml
    I was referring to CBP (and actually all other NL parks, save some interleague play).

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by Domino427
    Yup. Vic's got the best arm, which typically goes in RF. He's also familiar with it, where Rowand is only familiar w/CF.
    I don't buy this. Andruw Jones had a better arm than J.D. Drew and Gary Sheffield but still played CF. IMO, this is clearly a non-baseball-related decision. It's certainly just my view of things, but I think that Aaron Rowand is an above-average defensive CF and nothing more. He's got average range, and above-average arm, average vision, and takes poor angles on fly balls. He's better than Jason Michaels was in CF, but, IMO, he's inferior to Victorino in virtual every aspect of the defensive game in center (especially in terms of range, something that's vital with a naturally slow LF with a chronic foot injury on top of it).

    What the decision to leave Rowand in center actually is based on really isn't clear to me. Gillick doesn't seem like an irrational man, so I think there's a reason for this and it probably extends beyond the "Rowand is a fan favorite" argument. And I don't think the "you don't lose your position to an injury" thing works, either (just ask Jim Thome). So, I'm thinking it probably has to do with Rowand's trade value as a CF...but, again, I really don't think this is an on-field decision. Unless my eyes deceived me the last few months of the year, Victorino is simply the better defensive CF and unless Rowand is truly incapable of playing RF (which I'd doubt), I think that Vic in center and Rowand in right clearly gives you your best defensive option.

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by bdetto
    I don't buy this. Andruw Jones had a better arm than J.D. Drew and Gary Sheffield but still played CF. IMO, this is clearly a non-baseball-related decision. It's certainly just my view of things, but I think that Aaron Rowand is an above-average defensive CF and nothing more. He's got average range, and above-average arm, average vision, and takes poor angles on fly balls. He's better than Jason Michaels was in CF, but, IMO, he's inferior to Victorino in virtual every aspect of the defensive game in center (especially in terms of range, something that's vital with a naturally slow LF with a chronic foot injury on top of it).

    What the decision to leave Rowand in center actually is based on really isn't clear to me. Gillick doesn't seem like an irrational man, so I think there's a reason for this and it probably extends beyond the "Rowand is a fan favorite" argument. And I don't think the "you don't lose your position to an injury" thing works, either (just ask Jim Thome). So, I'm thinking it probably has to do with Rowand's trade value as a CF...but, again, I really don't think this is an on-field decision. Unless my eyes deceived me the last few months of the year, Victorino is simply the better defensive CF and unless Rowand is truly incapable of playing RF (which I'd doubt), I think that Vic in center and Rowand in right clearly gives you your best defensive option.
    Agreed to an extent. I think if Rowand stays in CF it is a combination of the public perception of Rowand's abilities (and don't get me wrong, I believe he is an above average CFer, but not a great CFer) and the fact that Vic is the younger player while Rowand is a veteran.
    That's not old school that's good school.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Rowand is above average defensively in CF?
    He was dead last in the league in FLD %.

    I heard the term "airmailed" more times year than the past several years combined.

    I guess it's the problems that don't show up in FLD% (like all the balls over his head) that impresses people?

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    Default Re: Mailbag: MVP, Rowand, Wolf

    Quote Originally Posted by thejerseydevil
    Rowand is above average defensively in CF?
    He was dead last in the league in FLD %.

    I heard the term "airmailed" more times year than the past several years combined.

    I guess it's the problems that don't show up in FLD% (like all the balls over his head) that impresses people?
    And David Bell had/has a great fielding percentage for a third baseman. Stats never lie.
    That's not old school that's good school.

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