Heading into Friday night's games, Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder have posted the following statistics:
Player A: 32 homers, .599 Slugging Percentage, 1.019 OPS. .995 Fielding Percentage, 9.37 RF/9.
Player B: 32 homers, .553 Slugging Percentage, .903 OPS, .991 Fielding Percentage, 8.98 RF/9.
Which player is Howard and which one is Fielder? You may be surprised that Player A is Prince Fielder. The Fan wrote about these two way back in February and it was fun comparing the two. The comparison covered the previous three years and Howard beat Fielder in almost every category over those three years.
But the Fan also pointed out that Howard was 29 and Fielder 24 and showed that PECOTA predicted that Howard would have Fielder beat for one more year then Fielder would eclipse the Phillies' slugger. It appears that the prediction was off by a year.
Don't get the Fan wrong. Ryan Howard is a force and a tremendous slugger in the middle of the Phillies' line up. His batting average is up from a year ago (.268 from .251) as is his On Base Percentage. But his walk ratio is down from 11.5% of his Plate Appearances to 10% this year. On the positive side, his strikeout to At Bat ratio is down from almost 33% to 28%.
But Fielder is having the far better year. His average is up 31 points (.307). His On Base Percentage is way up (.416) and his Slugging Percentage you already know. His walk to Plate Appearance average is 14.7% which is up from 12.1% from last year. And at the moment, he's much cheaper than Howard.
It looks like the lumbering first base award goes to Fielder who has eclipsed the big man in Philadelphia.