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Old 02-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #43
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Anyway, this wasn't to try and knock Adam Dunn, I think he is a generally underrated player, but, I think Howard is generally underrated by the statistical folks. I think the signing of Dunn by the Nats was very good for them.

Howard's gone 58-47-46 in HRs in his three full seasons, Dunn has gone 46-40-40-40 in his last 4 seasons. Take that and put it with Howard's domination over Dunn in hitting with RISP and it's a fairly large gap. Dunn is a good power hitter, but Howard has the chance to be a very special and rare baseball player. You don't really get that with Dunn.

And, the last two seasons have been the only ones where Howard became an all or nothing type hitter without runners on base. The 2006 season, they did not put the shift on him as much.

I only mention this because the common thinking seems to be that Howard has regressed since his MVP season in 2006. 58 HRs, 47 and 46 with a much lower average the next two seasons. He hit .313 in 2006, then .268 and .251.

But, I think Howard has improved the past two seasons...and I think the difference is that they made the playoffs the last two years. He hit .313 in his MVP year because he hit .337 with the bases empty. I'll take the last two seasons of his getting better with runners on base even if it means the decrease in hitting with the bases empty. Situational hitting just matters so much more in games.

That said, the most important hit of Howard's career was off a tough lefty in Hong-chih Kuo with the bases empty that stopped a series from going 2-2 and set the stage for the Phillies to be up 3-1. He is getting better as a hitter and has the potential to get to .260 or so with the bases empty and maintaining his improvement on hitting with runners on base. You can't really say the same for Dunn.
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