Quick — across both leagues, who’s the player who has hurt his team the most on the bases over the past three seasons? Hint: if you’re a Phillies fan, you probably saw him hobbling around the bases quite a bit in 2012.
The bad news is he wasn’t coming off of a major achilles injury in 2010 or 2011.
Here are Ryan Howard’s base running runs above average as calculated by FanGraphs over the past three seasons:
||Rank MLB players
||946 of 948
||935 of 936
||952 of 962
|’10 to ’12
||1399 of 1399
Howard’s -5.6 in 2012 was his best mark of the three years, but it’s hard to see that as a mark of much hope. Howard got just 292 plate appearances in ’12 — less than half of what he got in ’10 or ’11. If he accumulated base running runs above (below) average at his 2012 rate over 600 plate appearances, he would have been at about -11.5 for the year.
No doubt about it that Howard was coming off of a major injury in 2012. Less sure about how much that injury could have been impacting him in 2010 and 2011.
Over the last three years, there have only been five players whose total base running runs below average has been worse than -15.8 overall — David Ortiz (-19.7), Billy Butler (-19.7), Prince Fielder (-19.8), Paul Konerko (-21.5) and Howard (-22.0).
Even with only about half a season of plate appearances in 2012, Howard’s base running from 2010 to 2012 is still worse than Phillie-poster-boy-for-bad-on-the-bases Pat Burrell’s horrendous base running during Burrell’s worst years.
|Howard ’10 to ’12
||Burrell ’05 to ’07
At the height of his base running suck, 2005 to 2007, Burrell got 1,834 plate appearances with a total base running runs below average of -18.3. Over the last three years, Howard has 1,556 plate appearances and a base running runs below average of -22.0.
There’s not a whole ton of silver lining on the Ryan Howard base running front, but there are guys who have been worse on the bases than he has in recent history. Looking at three-year periods going back to 2000, here’s the player who had the best and worst base running runs above average as calculated by FanGraphs:
||Carlos Lee (tie)
So from 2008 to 2010, Prince Fielder (-23.4) was worse than Howard (-22.0) ’10 to ’12. Prior to that, you’ve got to go back to Alex Gonzalez (the other one) from ’03 to ’05 to find a three-year period where someone out-worsened Howard’s ’10 to ’12 over a three-year period. Gonzalez also did it ’02 to ’04. Alex Gonzalez had a whole bunch of problems trying to steal bases from 2000 to 2005, playing for five different teams and getting caught 24 times, picked off nine and stealing just 34 bases.
At least Howard doesn’t get caught stealing. He’s got 12 stolen bases for his career and has been caught just four times (picked off three).
On the other side of the table, Jimmy Rollins was the best running in baseball by base running runs above average from 2007 to 2009 with 26.6. And again, Michael Bourn demonstrates that he brings a lot of value with what he does with his defense and on the bases as he appears atop the list for 2008 to 2010, 2009 to 2011 and 2010 to 2012.
From 2008 to 2012, Bourn’s base running runs above average is 44.7. That leads all players across both leagues and nobody else is close. Ian Kinsler is second at 32.5 and Victorino third at 31.0.
Todd Zolecki suggests the chances the Phillies will land Josh Hamilton are pretty slim.
In the same piece, he also suggests the Rangers would have traded young third baseman Mike Olt for Hamels last year, but that he’s not sure they would trade him for Cliff Lee at this point.
The deadline for setting the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule V draft was last night. Matt Gelb speculated on who the Phillies might protect in this article.
The Phillies added four players to their 40-man roster in advance of the December 6 Rule V draft, including outfielder Zach Collier and pitchers Trevor May, Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone. They now have 38 players on their 40-man roster, including six outfielders, five of which are left-handed.
This suggests the Phillies may have interest in free agent Koji Uehara. The 37-year-old right-handed reliever threw to a 1.75 ERA with an 0.64 ratio for Texas in 2012, striking out 43 in 36 innings. He missed about two months last year with a problem with his right lat. He returned at the end of August and made 17 appearances between that time and the end of the season, throwing to a 1.23 ERA over 14 2/3 innings while striking out 21 and holding opponents to a .160 on-base percentage.