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The MVP is Back

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It's amazing what a little bit of health will do for a ballplayer.

Ryan Howard was injured for the start of the season and wound up spending 15 days on the disabled list from May 10 to May 24.  The difference before and after the injury stint has been pretty drastic:

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AB H HR RBI R BB IBB K AVG OBP SLG OPS
Before DL 98 20 6 23 13 29 11 39 0.204 0.380 0.429 0.808
After DL 88 26 10 25 15 14 8 29 0.295 0.388 0.693 1.082

Since coming back, Howard's slugging has skyrocketed, even though he's walking less. In fewer games and plate appearances, Howard has more home runs and more RBIs. He's only drawn 6 non-intentional walks, but even so, he's getting on base nearly 40% of the time he comes to the plate.

What's amazing about his post DL numbers is how projected out over 162 games, they are incredibly similar to his 2006 MVP campaign numbers:

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AB H HR RBI R BB IBB K AVG OBP SLG OPS
Projected 2007 594 176 68 169 101 95 54 196 0.295 0.388 0.693 1.082
2006 581 182 58 149 104 108 37 181 0.313 0.425 0.659 1.084

The projection here is not what Howard will end 2007 with, but rather what his post-DL numbers (23 starts in 24 games) project to over 162 games. He still has a ton of strikeouts, but I think any Phillie fan would be more than happy with another MVP-quality campaign from Howard for the rest of the season.

Thanks to Dave Pinto's amazing Day-By-Day Database for this project.