Is Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard the NL MVP? Well, there are several cases for and against him.

First, why he shouldn’t be MVP:

-Howard has 190 K’s and could very well break his own MLB record of 199 strikeouts in a season. MVP’s shouldn’t be breaking strikeout records.

-His defense at first base has gotten progressively worse. It’s clear that Howard has lost more and more confidence as the season has gone on. He struggles to field the ball cleanly and his throws tend to be off the mark.

-His batting average is terrible. He is currently hitting .249 and that’s because he has been on a tear. Meaning…his average has been awful all year.

Why he should be MVP:

-He is the clear MLB (not just NL) leader in RBI’s and HR’s. As of this posting, he has 45 HR’s and 136 RBI’s. Those numbers are dominant and there isn’t anyone terribly close to taking him over.

-Who would be ahead of him? I don’t see anyone close to his power and production numbers. Albert Pujols in St. Louis is hitting .360 with 33 bombs and 101 RBI’s, and yes, those numbers are hard to argue with. Is the high average enough to overcome the disparity in power and runs driven in? Could be.

As for those clamoring for Carlos Delgado…please. He has been incredibly hot as of late, but was so terrible earlier this season that Mets fans were calling for him to be cut. That’s right…cut.


Howard has the goods to win MVP, but how much do you downgrade him for poor defense, strikeouts and bad batting average? Howard is ripping the cover off the ball right now, but Pujols’ insane .360 avg. and solid power numbers could get him the MVP nod.

About The Author

Micah Warren is a sports writer from New York and the founder of Blast's sports section and the Off the Record sports blog.

15 Responses

  1. bcapp

    Good points overall, but I would disagree that Howard’s fielding has gotten progressively worse. He hasn’t had a throwing error in quite awhile and he’s snagged many a wild pick off throw, especially of late. Tonight he grabbed a shot down the line with the bases loaded that saved a run late in the game.

  2. Steve

    I agree with bcapp, Howard’s D has actually progressively improved over the last month and a half or so

  3. Dills

    I agree with Steve…. but i disagree with bcapp……bcapp? what about blatte…i like him better

  4. jj

    howard does appear to be on a hot streak in the field as well. I’m from philly and love howard (especially when he’s hitting like he is now), but i dont think he has the all around numbers to be MVP this year. Pujols has only struck out like 50 times and his OBP is close to .500. I do think Howard should be second though.

    But who knows if he has a few more 4 for 5 nights, maybe he can raise his average to the .260s. Also i think its big for his MVP chances that he doesn’t break his own strikeout record

  5. mchary

    Ryan Howard’s defense has not gotten worse as the season has progressed. It has gotten markedly better. He’s certainly not going to remind anyone of Keith Hernandez but he’s no longer reminding me of Willie Aikens either. He’s made some legitimately fine plays in the last month or so.

    Now, his base running…


    I am from philly and Ryan Howard is my favorite 1st baseman right now. I actually don’t want him to get MVP though simply because the league is never going to respect that deserves. What 2-time mvp you know has never played in an all-star game.

  7. PanamaTed

    OK…lets settle this for all….

    Ryan Howard should not be the 2008 NL MVP

    First off he is hitting .250 and striking out 200 times this year. Plus if it wasn’t for Utley and Burrell in the beginning of the season his strong finish wouldn’t be worth jack. If the idiot voters were to give it to him then they should give it to all three on the Phils.

    The MVP hands down should go to Pujols. His stats smoke Howard. I know Howard has the homers and RBI’s. That’s great but he also has a .250 batting average and 200 strikeouts.

    If you say well the Cards aren’t in the playoffs then what about 2006. The Cards squeeked in and they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Pujols. His offensive stats overall that year were better than Howard’s. So if you want to argue about the MVP should be on a playoff team then don’t be a hippocrit because the dumb sportswriters didn;t put much value in it that year.

    Now lets discuss fundamental baseball. The object of each at bat, excluding situationals where a sacrifice bunt etc is called for, is to get on base. In order to get on base you either get walked or get a hit. In order to get a hit you have to put the bat on the ball and put it in play. No one….and I’ll repeat no one!…does it better than Pujols. Fact… end of subject. Don’t get mad cause he’s not on your team…be a true fan and accept the fact. The stats tell me Pujols was walked 101 times with 515 at bats. Howard has 81 with 601 at bats. Point Pujols. Hmmmm, how about strikeouts. Pujols 53 and Howard 196. Not even close. Point Pujols. Well Panama, Howard has 142 rbi’s to Pujols’ 112. That’s true but remember, neither Howard or Pujols has any control over what the previous batter does. You need to look at RISP (runner in scoring position). Pujols is .333 and Howard is .312. Point Pujols.

    Fact is we all are enamored with home run hitters. I am too. But the fact is Pujols is better. He has power, average and doesn’t strikeout. If the man stays healthy, gets 16+ seasons in, you have the opportunity to witness quite possibly, and arguably the best player to play the game in modern day history. Enjoy it…embrace it.

    By the way I lived in Philly for 7 years from age 10 thru 17 and am a Philly fan. I never lived in St. Louis but I respect the facts and King Albert is my hands down pick for 2008.

  8. poconojo

    No………Ted, Pujols stats were not better than Howard’s in 06.

    HRs RBIs AVG
    Howard 58 149 .313
    Pujols 49 137 .331

    Pujols -15% -8% +5.75

    If you want to parse the #’s…..515 abs to Howard”s 601…. It’s because the “King” is pretty fragile and tends to spend alot of time on the DL. Can’t carry your team on the DL. Howard played 159 games and Pujols 143 in 06…..The king needs some durability, But I’m glad you’re a philly fan.

  9. PanamaTed

    In 2006, if you were to extrapolate the numbers to have Pujols with the same at bats as Howard, you get Pujols having:
    more runs – 129 to 104
    more hits, thus higher avg which he had anyway
    more doubles – 36 to 25
    triples the same
    less homeruns by 5, 53 to 58
    the same rbi’s – 149
    less walks at 108 to 100
    less strikeouts by a mile (70%) – 54 to 181
    as mentioned a better avg – .331 to .313
    better on base %, which he had – .431 to .425
    and better slugging % which he had – .671 to .659
    thus a better ops – 1.102 to 1.084
    better fielding
    and for those who feel the MVP should take into consideration if their team makes the playoff, the Cards did (barely) and the Phils didn’t. Due to the fact that the Cards barely got in, its easy to say that w/o the caliber of a Pujols, they wouldn’t have made it.

    If you look at the stats, you’ll see all are relatively close except for
    strikeouts which tells me everytime they are at bat, Howard struck out 31% and Pujols 9%. Simply put, excluding situational at bats, Pujols creates much more opportunity at the plate because fundamentally the objective is to connect the bat with the ball.

    Congrats to Phils winning the World Series. I live in Clearwater where the Phils practice and the Rays play and felt like either way I win. What the Rays did was phenomenal and I just love the fact that they beat the the fat payrolls of Boston and New York.

  10. todd m

    pujols hit 357 this year , besides when he hit .359 a few years ago…….. no 1st baseman since don mattingly hit that…….. ok this is a baseball god, and a legend. 190+ strikeouts and a 250 avg from Howard don’t cut it. Bring me someone who hit over 300 and 100+ rbi in 7 straight years…….. thats called pujols. did i mention he had a .998 fielding %? Pujols only had 50 something strikouts……. so howard had almost 140 or so more strikouts…… Pujols never had that many in ANY SEASON and neither should any MVP. with terrible numbers like that you cant give him the MVP. only HRS and RBI are on howards side……… and that just means you can hit powerfully. the exact stats are pujols strikes out 7% of the time and Coward around 30%. any fat lefty hits for power! but thats why teams shift, not cause it looks cool, but because fat people pull balls……. goodnight douchebags

  11. todd m

    by the way wouldn’t it only be logical to hit more rbi if your teams better? that means your guys can actually reach base. A kid in a wheelchair can play 1st in Philly. END OF STORY and if you wanna argue stats bring them. I have a barrage left in the arsenal. St.Louis had a bullpen made of pure dogshit! And Philly has the LEGEND brad lidge,and THE LEGEND Jimmy Rollins. your team is amazing. Howard might not be the MVP of his own team. I’m just naming a few good players on Philly. Name another st.Louis guy besides Ludwick without going to view the roster LOL. And pujols still had them boys a few games out.

  12. todd m

    hey “poconojo” go to hell you dont know stats…. yeah in 06′ howard won 2 of three tripple crown stats just like this year! but he struckout more, had a glove made of shit, and didnt reach base as much or walk as much. Did you forget to read “all the stats” or do you just read sportscenter. And if you know anything about pujols…… he’s been injured and will need surgery but cant get it till he fully tear his elbow tendons and still had AN MVP YEAR. so even though hes hurt he still hits year after year with a better avg than your boy! look on baseball and one year pujols had 190 something hits. he’s a first baseman not ICHIRO. and hits like god so when you learn about ball come talk to me.


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