Monday, March 10, 2014

Phillies 2014+ Ryan Howard 2014 Topps Target Red #105 - NOT a sparkle SP

With our 1964 Phillies and Topps Heritage features we have been looking at baseball past a lot recently. Today we are going to turn the page a bit, the Phillies have returned to Clearwater and are playing real live spring training games. It is time for us to start taking a look at Phillies present and future. Which means it is new Feature Time: Phillies 2014+. Notice I added a '+' at the end of the feature title - we will be looking at both this season and the Phillies down the road. We leadoff by looking at the Phillies highest paid position player Ryan Howard

2014 Topps Target Red  #105 Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard isn’t a great Baseball Player. There it is, it is tough to admit, but it is true. He is a good baseball player and perhaps can even be very good. Despite the Rookie of the Year award (deserved) and MVP (not deserved) his numbers do not really warrant All-Star consideration. He has only one season where he was top 10 in Offensive WAR, 6.1 good enough for fourth place in 2006. That is eight years ago. In 2014 Howard is coming off of 2 injury shortened season in which he produced decent power numbers when available but little else. I think expecting the 40+ HR years that Howard put up from 2007-09 is far too optimistic. Hell his 30 HR years of 2010-11 is pretty optimistic.

Baseball-ref SimScores
I am fascinated with similarity scores. Bill James develop the concept which Baseball-ref/Sean Foreman have modified and placed into an easily analyzable form. Ryan Howard doesn't have a close comp, but he does have some interesting names in his top 10 comps. They range from Hall of Famer Willie Stargell down to Howard's closest comp, Richie Sexson. For Phillies fans Sexson is a particularly depressing comp, he never played a day of baseball beyond age 33 - Ryan Howard turned 34 during the offseason. The other comps include Mark McGwire, Cecil Fielder, Frank Howard, and oddly David Justice.

At 34+ Stargell had the best remaining career WAR (+17.4) followed closely by McGwire(+17.2). The average of the 10 players was +7.2. Another aspect of the SimScores in Baseball-ref is career stat projections. For Ryan Howard (currently at 311 Homers) projects for 395 career Home Runs. There it is kids - enjoying them while they last. Ryan Howard has 84 home runs left in him. This is down from his career peak (2011) when his expected HR total topped out at 425.

I project Ryan Howard to have a healthy 2014 season, but to be closer to his 2011 numbers than his MVP numbers - Phungo sez 28 HR, 100 RBI and .267 Avg/ .342 OBP 1.0 WAR

2014 Topps Target Red - NOT A SPARKLE

Just wanted to note that for me the last two season of Topps Target Red cards have been a bit rich in color for my taste. I like getting my retail at Target because red is the Phillies color but the is just a touch dark for me.

Not A Sparkle 
And this card is not a Sparkle Variation. Stupid Topps Gimmick. 

2014 Topps Review
Phillies Checker (Carlos Ruiz)
First Pack  (Matt Davidson) 
Blue Blaster (Jimmy Rollins)

Cardboard Connection

1 comment:

jacobmrley said...

I find the Target red works best with the Phillies, with the Red Sox (duh) a close second. The dark color works well with the Phillie shade where I think it doesn't quite work with, say, the Cardinals. Maybe my eyes are getting old.

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