01 September 2006

Ryan Howard for MVP

Ok, I'm biased because I am a huge Philadelphia Phillies fan, but I think the month of August proved that Ryan Howard should be this year's National League MVP.

As of today, Howard has a .299 batting average (21st in the NL), 49 home runs (leads the league; the 49th last night broke Mike Schmidt's 1980 franchise record), 128 RBIs (also leads the league). If he continues at a reasonable pace, he will easily clinch 2 of 3 Triple Crown categories (HRs and RBIs). It would not be unreasonable to see Howard end the season with 55-60 HRs and 145-150 RBIs.

Howard hit 14 HRs and had 41 RBIs for the month of August, both also franchise records. He and Chase Utley are largely responsible for the fact that a previously sub .500 team is now within one game of the National League wild card.

All this comes on top of last year, when Howard won National League Rookie of the Year playing only half the season. Yes, you're right, that means this year is Howard's first full season. He's making the league minimum salary of less then $400,000 a year.

Here are Howard's stats compared with other likely MVP candidates:

Name (Team) BA HR RBI SB
Howard (Phillies) 0.299 49 128 0
Beltran (Mets) 0.286 39 112 16
Pujols (Cardinals) 0.320 39 109 5
Wright (Mets) 0.300 24 102 16

Beltran, Wright, and Pujols all play for division leaders and deserve to be candidates with their fine seasons. But I think this season Ryan Howard is better than them all.
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