So I'm IMing with Doyle the other day, and it goes like this (taken directly from saved transcript):
cdoyle31: David Wright is the best third baseman ever.
cdoyle31: Seriously. Hear me out. His PECOTA projections are off the charts.
me: Mike Schmidt?
cdoyle31: Don't be a homer. He's a borderline HOFer.
me: What the fuck are you talking about?
cdoyle31: Seriously. Have you seen his JAWS?
me: That's it. That's the last straw. You've become the Hitler of statistics.
cdoyle31: Hitler wasn't even that bad. You're getting too caught up in traditional stats like body count. Now Mussolini, on the other hand ...
He said that! I swear. Then he said that Ryan Howard would never make the HOF because he'd father too many illegitimate children and voters don't like that.
Seriously though, the Howard thing seems relatively cogent to me. The only places I disagree are, in order of strength:
1. Jaffe is absolutely high if he thinks it's a given that Howard's going to be DHing soon. He's not a free agent until 2012, which means that, unless six years from now is what he means by before too long, he must apparently think the Phils are going to either non-tender or trade a guy who last year became the first Phil to win the MVP in 20 years and is the most popular athlete in town now that Iverson's gone. Barring some kind of Rolen/Schilling situation -- which is always a possibility in Philly -- trading him would be the death knell for Pat Gillick. I don't think that's going to happen.
2. I think it's a bit strong to say (you, not Jaffe) that Ryan Howard has "considerable injury problems." He has never missed significant time at any level due to injury -- not to my knowledge, and definitely not in pro ball, although I don't know about college. The worst thing that's ever happened to him was a sprained knee ligament, which played on until he began to have quad problems (or maybe it was vice versa -- it's hard to say). Point is, he strained his leg. No structural damage. No surgery. He played hurt, mostly ineffectively, for a month, then missed 15 days. I don't think that's an indicator of anything, and it's certainly not anything you can project as being something that will limit him in years to come.
3. This is a really minor thing, but I don't think he plays the whole 2004 season even if Thome's not there. You don't generally promote anybody, much less position players, from A ball to the majors in one offseason. Although you're right in saying that after he hit 37 homers in AA, he'd have been a late-season callup for sure. And there was no way he should have been sitting at all in 2005.
I think he's got a pretty good shot at the HOF. You can try to project, but that's an iffy proposition at best when you're talking about a player with two years of MLB service as of right about now. Forget his body type, forget his age (but don't forget that 27 leaves him five years of prime even if you're really skeptical about it), and look at the fact that he's been in the majors for two years and has 100 HRs, a ROY, and an MVP. Let's not leave him off the 2022 ballot just yet.
But is he a lock? Of course not. Six more years like this and I think he's close. So I don't think we're disagreeing on the major points here.
I've got some other posts cooking re: the NBA draft and the Phillies' quest for 10,000 losses. But Cole Hamels is walking everybody except Carlos Beltran, whom he keeps throwing high change-ups that wind up in the second deck. A double-header sweep is not what I wanted to watch on this fine Friday afternoon.