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Further Dispelling The Myth That Ryan Howard Is The Phillies NLCS "Goat"

I understand this post is going to be preaching to the choir for the most part, but the insanity of some reactions by both fans and media have compelled me to break down Ryan Howard's post-season performance.  He is not the reason they lost, and if you do think he is, then you have not seen any of the numbers of the post-season.  People will be quick to point to RBIs as the reason Howard is the goat, because, what kind of clean-up hitter has 0 RBIs in a 6 game post-season series?  But if you know anything about RBIs, you know that it is a meaningless stat in judging whether or not a player is good or not. 

If one is going to determine how good a player performed in a post-season series, the last place you should look is RBIs (something that will be painfully obvious in a short while, if it isn't already for you).  Let's look at the important offensive percentages for each the Phillies in the 2010 NLCS, excluding pitchers.  Important:  I know the sample size is a 6-game series, but I am not using this to say that Player X is better/more valuable than Player Y overall.  The sole purpose of this post is to dispel the myth that Ryan Howard's $125MM bat "disappeared" during the NLCS.

While not the best stat there is, batting average is at least better than RBIs, so we'll start with this one and move on to more complex and more telling metrics as we go on.



Batting average in the 2010 NLCS

Ryan Howard:  .318
Jimmy Rollins:  .261
Placido Polanco:  .250
Jayson Werth:  .222
Phillies Team Average:  .216
Raul Ibanez:  .211
Shane Victorino:  .208
Chase Utley:  .182
Ben Francisco:  .167
Carlos Ruiz:  .167

On-Base Percentage in the 2010 NLCS

Ryan Howard:  .400
Jayson Werth:  .375
Placido Polanco:  .360
Chase Utley:  .333
Jimmy Rollins:  .320
Carlos Ruiz:  .318
Phillies Team Average:  .314
Shane Victorino:  .296
Raul Ibanez:  .250
Ben Francisco:  .167

Slugging percentage

Jayson Werth:  .611
Ryan Howard:  .500
Placido Polanco:  .350
Carlos Ruiz:  .333
Phillies Team Average:  .321
Jimmy Rollins:  .304
Raul Ibanez:  .263
Shane Victorino:  .250
Chase Utley:  .227
Ben Francisco:  .167

OPS

Jayson Werth:  .986
Ryan Howard:  .900
Placido Polanco:  .710
Carlos Ruiz:  .652
Phillies Team Average:  .635
Jimmy Rollins:  .624
Chase Ultey:  .561
Shane Victorino:  .546
Raul Ibanez:  .513
Ben Francisco:  .333


The fact that people want to lay the blame on someone who led the team in on-base percentage, was 2nd in number of bases/AB, and 2nd in OPS is completely senseless.  People want to find a goat, and because Ryan Howard got the big contract extension, he is the easy target when he is not hitting grand slams in every at-bat.  Now, these more telling numbers aside, people will still point to the RBIs as to why Howard was not "clutch," and why he "lost his bat in the playoffs," and on and so forth.  So why the discrepancy?  Here is where it comes from.

Number of doubles hit in the NLCS

Ryan Howard:  4
Placido Polanco:  2
Raul Ibanez:  1
Shane Victorino:  1
Chase Utley:  1
Jimmy Rollins:  1
Jayson Werth:  1
Everyone else:  0

Ryan Howard hit 4 doubles in the NLCS and still has 0 RBIs.  He was mashing the ball with the best of them in this series and yet he still had 0 RBIs.  The factors that influenced that are all things beyond Ryan Howard's control.  He has no control over the number of people on base and where they are located each AB.  Nor does he have any control over whether or not any runner on 1st can score with the double.  He can't just put a turbo boost into Jimmy Rollins to make him run like The Flash so he can beat the throw from Edgar Renteria to give the Phillies more runs in Game 6 of the NLCS.  Nor can he magically will the people who hit before him to get on base so he can get the RBIs.  Ryan Howard had more hits than any Phillie in the NLCS.  The fact Howard had 0 RBIs is a matter of circumstance and luck, not a reflection of "how bad he is," "the disappearance of his bat," or his "lack of clutchness," never mind that a hitter being "clutch" is a ridiculous and absurd notion to begin with.

If you want to be mad and blame someone?  Blame the team as a whole.  You win as a team and you lose as a team, and whether people like it or not, the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies lost as a team in the NLCS.  As much as people in the media and some fans like to have a goat they can be angry at, there is no goat here to be had, and that goat damn sure is not the guy who was one of team's best players in the NLCS.  A .635 OPS will do a team in, not the guy leading the team in hits, doubles, batting average, on-base percentage in the series, and 2nd on the team in slugging percentage and OPS in the series.

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