Ibanez Looks MVP Worthy

ibanez 0611.jpgIt’s June, but it isn’t too early to say Raul Ibanez is making himself an early candidate for National League MVP.

He hit a three-run home run tonight in a 6-3 victory over the Mets in 11 innings at Citi Field. He leads the National League in RBIs (58), runs (49) and slugging percentage (.674). He is second in home runs (21). He is hitting .322 with a .377 on-base percentage. He has 15 doubles and two triples. He is playing good defense and has shown good abilities running the bases.

He has been a stud.

Of course, there is a long way to go, but what Ibanez has brought to the Phillies has been pretty special so far. He has made people forget about Pat Burrell, despite their protests when the Phillies let Burrell walk in the offseason.

Ibanez should be headed to his first All-Star Game in July.

He has a chance for more honors later.

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9 Comments

Ibanez is worthy of much praise for the season he is having. Where did that rage come from though the other day? He was really insulting to bloggers and had really terrible things to say about them, when it was a member of the official media to ask him the steroid question?

Anyway, Raul will always be a Wheaties Champion to me! I nominate his nickname as ‘Wheaties’

One of the best things about last night’s game besides the obvious of beating the MUTTS!, was the Spanish language network’s call of Ibanez’s HR it was PRICELESS!! RAUUULLL!!!!

Pat who?

Who was protesting letting him walk? I sure don’t remember that… Definitely wasn’t me!!!

I, too, was taken aback by Ibanez’s anger… maybe someone else had been questioning him and he was already teed of. He’s still my hero, no doubt… the few times I’ve stuck around on the radio for the Star of the Game show, he’s been really humble and seems like a great guy!

     I actually don’t blame Raul for his reaction (being a blogger myself) because even the slightest question of PED use can put you on the radar of annoying ESPN talking heads and radio idiots for weeks at a time, which is just a whole lot of drama a player doesn’t want going on off the field. If he had read J-Rod’s post, he would’ve realized it wasn’t as ridiculous as John Gonzalez made it seem, but I know if I were a professional baseball player I wouldn’t have the time or care to read some random blog.
     As far as Burrell, I was one of the ones saying we should try to re-sign him. People seem to be forgetting after the fact what a great power bat he was in left. And, from the perspective of November, it looked like a bad trade-off. Ibanez had never shown Burrell’s power before, got on base only slightly more often, and actually had worse defense in left than Burrell, the only one worse than Burrell not named Manny Ramirez. Compounding all that was the contract – Rube gave 3 years $31 mil to Raul, 5 years older than Burrell, and Burrell took a 2 year, $16 mil deal. Not to mention a lot of other great, younger outfield free agents with better numbers that signed for cheaper.
     Now, obviously in retrospect the signing worked out great for the Phillies, but it’s silly for Phils fans to be all “I knew at the time it would be a fantastic grab!” because there was nothing to indicate that at the time. All that being said, I’m thrilled that RAAAUULLL is here and is in the early MVP discussions. Go Phils!

I found Ibanez’s response to the PED accusation totally justified and refreshing. Any sort of sheepish or delayed response from him would have only helped fuel the fire and keep the tabloid talk going. It’s also nice to see a ballplayer who can be articulate, as opposed to, say, Ramirez who recently said, “I didn’t kill nobody, I didn’t rape nobody, so that’s it.”

phylan …………I don’t know what statistics you were looking at when comparing Burrell and Ibanez but when I did the same I came up with the opposite conclusion, at least for the last four or five years. And even here Ibanez showed improvement while Burrell was stagnant. Home runs was the only area which Burrell out performed Ibanez but I also calculated that Burrell’s home runs were probably inflated due to CBP while Ibanez’s home runs were probably deflated due to hitting in a pitcher’s park, the net effect of which was a wash. Pat was a good man who had productive years with the Phillies, However, I do not believe his production justified his salary. Pat signed with the Rays for $16 million for two years. This does not mean that he would have signed with Phillies for the same amount. Maybe you are privy to more information than me but I do not recall any dollar amount discussed in connection with Pat’s resigning with the Phillies. Regardless, Ibanez at $10 to $11 million this year is a steal compared to the $15 million Pat earned last year even before considering the career year Raul is now having.

     Well, to start CBP isn’t really a hitter’s park. Check out the park factors at ESPN; since they moved the left field fence back it’s either been neutral or slightly favoring pitchers. Second, it depends on what you value. Burrell was always much, much better at getting walks than Ibanez. His isolated power was also consistently higher. In terms of overall production, if you measure by wOBA (take a look at the comparison here: http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=949&playerid2=607&playerid3=&position=OF&page=8&type=full ), Burrell was consistently a bit higher since 2003.
     Numbers didn’t really factor into Burrell’s contract discussions because, well, there weren’t any. Ruben never made any substantive attempt to sign him. I agree with you entirely that Raul is a steal this year at 6.5 mil, but one wonders if he will be a steal in for $11.5 mil in 2010 when he’s 38, or $11.5 mil in 2011 when he’s 39.
      I guess the point is, from the perspective of November 2008, the decision to let Burrell go for Raul Ibanez was not mind-blowingly obviously correct, as some Phillies fans now make it out to be. I’m certainly happy with the decision right now though.

My brother lives in Seattle and when the signing was finalized, he told me that Raul was going to light up the NL’s pitchers. He said that Ibanez was a pure hitter but sucked in the outfield. He still doesn’t believe that Raul has been on ESPN’s Web Gems a couple of times. No one in Seattle thought he ever took PEDs. His work ethic was second to only Ichiro’s. All Mariner fans were upset that the team didn’t try harder to retain him. Their pitchers probably miss him the most.

Pat made it clear several times during the year and after the Series that he was looking for a 10 mil, 3 year deal. The ONLY reason he signed for so much less is that it turned out all the other teams were far less interested in him than we were. And while the number may bare it out, I find it hard to reconcile “Burrell was always much, much better at getting walks than Ibanez” with what I remember. Frankly I have far more trust when Raul comes up to bat that he will be selective and have a good eye than I ever did with Burrell.

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