Ryan Howard’s WAR score means nothing if you don’t believe in sabermetric science. However, if “Money Ball” is akin to a baseball “chick flick”, then you know that this likely rising number will increase the Philadelphia Phillies‘ 2013 fortunes.
As all geeks know, without having to click elsewhere, “The Big Piece” had a -1.2 WAR score last season. Playing at far less than 100% on his repaired left Achilles’ tendon, Howard was hardly a feared hitter last season. His .219 batting average and .718 OPS were far below his seasonal career averages in those categories.
When healthy, number 6 is worth between two and three wins per season. That very subjective calculation was made in the following manner: Howard had a cumulative 16.5 WAR score from 2005 through 2012. I didn’t use the 0.3 WAR score that was earned in the 2004 season, because he only played in 19 games.
The Phillies first baseman appeared in 88 games in 2005 (his National League Rookie of the Year Award season) and 71 games last year. So, I combined those two partial years. Dividing 16.5 by seven years, we then arrive at 2.36 wins above replacement value.
I have mixed feelings about whether this specific statistic is truly accurate. However, baseball is more of a numbers game than any other sport in my opinion. Therefore, I find myself drawn to this statistical wave more than I’m repelled by it.
Yes, human beings can’t be completely reduced to numbers these professional athletes aren’t simply a reflection of their old school baseball cards. But, it’s fair to say that Howard’s overall presence on the team last year wasn’t helpful. Thus, his negative WAR score makes sense.
It’s also reasonable to conclude that if this 33-year-old man remains healthy this season, that he will help his team to win more games. I’ll round up and say that he’ll be worth at least three more wins this year, if he produces like he has (on average) during his undeniably important Philadelphia baseball career.