Ryan Howard has had what could be considered one of the best offensive starts to a career that has ever been seen. In only 566 games a Philadelphia Phillie, Howard has racked up a whopping 175 home runs, 494 RBIs and a .533 slugging percentage. Most importantly though is Howard's production in the late months of the season. In his short career, he has 42 dingers in the months of Sept/Oct with 106 RBIs. Which only slightly bests his August numbers of 33 HRs and 100 RBIs.
Clearly Howard is turning into a clutch player down the stretch for the Philadelphia Phillies and he has homered his way into talks now for the NL MVP. Fortunately for him though it might be easier than he thinks to win the award for the second time.
Most of his critics argue that he is only hitting .249 on the season and that his defense is less than desirable even at this point in his career, but can we discount the fact that he single handily has put this team on his back and carried them to what appears to be a playoff berth.
Howard is currently hitting .348 in the month of September with 9 homers and 27 RBIs. Not bad in 69 at bats.
His contenders for the MVP award on the other hand, might have much better overall numbers but they are struggling to stay in contention if not out of it already.
Albert Pujols is having a stellar year. Hitting .349 for the season with 34 home runs and 106 RBIs. How can we dismiss the fact though that his team in a mere 5 games over .500 and out of the playoff hunt sitting 14.5 games back.
Carlos Delgado is having a monster end to the season as well. Hitting .361 in the month of September with 7 homers and 17 RBIs, he has managed to come up big in some clutch situations for the Mets as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.
David Wright is another name that looms in the MVP race. Hitting .297 on the season, Wright has a respectable 32 home runs and 118 RBIs but will probably fall short once again because his numbers aren't as glaring as Delgado's at this point in the season.
So why will Howard win the MVP?
Ryan Howard should and will win the MVP for the following reasons.
1. Howard leads the league in Home Runs by 8 and by the end of the week could break 50.
2. Howard's 141 RBI's is 23 higher than any of the MVP contenders.
3. Despite Howard's poor batting average, he has managed to turn it on when his team needed and is hitting .282 since July 1st.
4. Howard has picked his entire offense up and carried them towards what appears to be a NL East title baring the outcome of the last 6 games of the season.
5. Finally Howard continues to be a team player despite the fact that the foolish Philadelphia ownership refuses to acknowledge the lasting potential of this offensive phenom. Howard has continued to play the good guy as Philadelphia Execs have yet to extend his contract.