Our good friends in Philadelphia breathed a sigh of relief when superstar slugger Ryan Howard knocked out two tater tots in the Phillies' big 4-1 win over the Cardinals yesterday. He's now leading the majors in homers (and strikeouts) and leading the NL in RBI (and errors by a first baseman). Says Enrico of The 700 Level:
After yesterday's win, a friend of mine told me about the pleasure he got from telling off his buddies who earlier in the season were calling for Howard to be traded. I like to think I never abandoned Ryan when he was mired in struggles. Sure, I made a few jokes here and there about "how many strikeouts will RyHo get tonight?" But I had faith the former MVP would find his stroke. And he has.
You have good faith in your favorite team's star players, friend. Ryan Howard has been one of the top hitting first basemen in baseball over the past three years. Even better, he just seems like a nice fella the way the media portrays him. Aw, his mom gives him an allowance still. How precious!
Kid's got 156 ding-dongs over his 503 game career; project him out to a 16 year career and he'll notch over 650 homers. The problem arises however: can we really project him out that far? Check out RyHo's Baseball-Reference page and look at his similar batters. Sure, there's no Dave Kingman (thankfully) but there is:
- Norm Cash (925)
- Cecil Fielder (909)
- Mo Vaughn (884)
Norm Cash had a very good 19 year career in the offensively-challenged 1960's and ended up with 377 career homers. Not bad, especially with a career OPS of .862. However, Cecil Fielder and Mo Vaughn experienced an enormous amount of success early in their careers and then fell off miserably after age 32. Perhaps Fielder's career was stunted by Gamblor and perhaps Mo Vaughn's career was stunted by Krispy Kremes, but the fact remains: Ryan Howard is a larger-than-average, power-hitting, poor-fielding first baseman who strikes out about 1.3 times per game.
For the most part, Howard has been quite popular in Philadelphia, what with his MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. But general manager Pat Gillick was reluctant to give him a big payday with an extended contract and perhaps this is why. I like the big fella and I want to see him break out of the career mold set so poorly by Vaughn and Fielder; only time will tell.