blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter
blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter

Howard’s Spring to remember

Howard is looking for reasons why he can’t hit like he used to, maybe he should be getting a personal hitting coach to assist him

Ryan Howard has been a notoriously slow starter when it comes to Spring training. This year appears to be more of the same for him in regards to that. He’s been up to bat 8 times so far and has nothing to show for it.

For the former Rookie of the Year from 2005, this Spring is probably the last time he’ll be in Clearwater with the Phils. It’s a really historic time if you’re a Phillies fan. Howard was the franchise player for the Phillies for many years and though he’s talked about in a negative light now, those who remember the good times that Howard provided still have vivid memories of that time.

Howard seemed on a path to Cooperstown, so it’s still not that difficult to see why Ruben Amaro Jr. elected to sign him to that (at the time) huge contract extension to keep him in a Phillies uniform for the many years that he’s been here.

What happened along the way was plenty of injuries and just a overall decline of his baseball acumen. His lack of effectiveness against left handed pitching has been known about for years, and he hasn’t really done that much to improve the situation.

At 36 years old, it seems like Howard is leaving his best days behind him. In contrast, you take a look at a home run hitter named Hank Aaron and he was still excelling at the age of 36 and beyond. Despite it all, Howard could find his swing in the next couple of years and possibly be in contention for the Hall of Fame, if you look at this current numbers in the Baseball-Reference player page, you’ll see that he is compared with some very good players, but he would have to find his swing again and hit over 35 HR each year for a couple of seasons. The magic number for him would be to end up with near 500 or over HR’s to get a chance to get into the Hall.

It’s been reported that Ryan Howard will platoon with Darin Ruf, who hit 2 HR yesterday in a Phillies win. Ruf, who is 29 years old, showed tremendous potential for the Phils, but really never got a chance to be on the field for a whole season with the team, despite him hitting home runs in bunches in the minors.

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