Ryan Howard Could Have One of the Worst 100 RBI Seasons Ever
On Saturday night’s broadcast of the Cardinals-Phillies game, Mike Schmidt said (paraphrasing) that you can’t get to 100 RBI and have a bad season. In the eighth inning, as if the baseball gods wanted to put on a live demonstration of teammates’ effect on a hitter’s RBI total, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning. They then reached second and third base on a double-steal. Howard was later hit by a Randy Choate pitch, but he was in a great position to knock in two runs with a bloop single (which Marlon Byrd then did immediately afterward).
According to Baseball Prospectus, Howard has taken 288 plate appearances with runners on base, representing 54.4 percent of his total plate appearances. Howard’s rate of driving in other runners, however, is 15.5 percent, the 68th-highest rate (min. 300 PA), sandwiched between James Loney and Aaron Hill.
So we know that a hitter doesn’t have a great amount of control over his RBI total. A large portion of it is already decided by the base running skill and the on-base percentage of the batters in front of him, and that hitter’s position in the batting order. To go back to what Schmidt said, what are the worst 100 RBI seasons?
Howard has a .685 OPS and is on pace to finish with exactly 100 RBI. Here’s a list of sub-.700 OPS seasons with 100-plus RBI:
Using adjusted OPS instead, here are 100 RBI seasons with an OPS+ of 90 or worse:
It hasn’t been done often. Howard — much to Schmidt’s chagrin — is on pace to have one of the worst 100 RBI seasons in baseball history.