Tag: ryan howard (page 1 of 5)

Three Phillies Earned a Spot on the Sporting News’ List of the Worst Everyday Players from 2014

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Well, technically two and a half: The Sporting News just released their list of the worst everyday players in the major leagues at every position, and the Phillies made a strong showing for being weak. The worst everyday first baseman? Well, you can guess that:

Yes, on the surface it seems odd for WAR to say a player who is fourth in the NL with 93 RBIs is the worst everyday first baseman in baseball. And Howard has certainly been at his best with runners on base: a .256 average and .802 OPS, compared to .182 and .552 with the bases empty. But he’s never been much of a fielder (Inside Edge numbers) show he’s only made 17 of 50 plays at first base deemed to be outside of the routine this year) or much of a runner. And when you add his career-worst .220 average and .682 OPS to the mix, he winds up on this list for 2014.

Left field? The man responsible for that not-uncommon occurrence above, Dom Brown:

In 139 games last year, Brown hit 27 home runs and posted a 1.7 WAR for the Phillies in a breakthrough season. This year, through 140 games, he has 10 home runs and a minus-1.3 WAR. That’s quite a regression. His struggles reached the point where, earlier this month, there were reports that the Phillies will look to trade him in the offseason. That’s not what anyone expected after Brown made the 2013 All-Star team.

And when it comes to starting pitching, the saddest award in all of baseball goes to Roberto Fausto Edward James Olmos Carmona Hernandez, who spent his season with the Phillies until just after the trade deadline. He actually did pretty decent here and made the list due to his dismal showing with the Dodgers. But that doesn’t really make me feel any better, because he was tied with someone else we know very well:

Hernandez was actually a relatively positive part of the Phillies’ rotation for much of the year (3.87 ERA/4.67 FIP), but in eight starts after the Dodgers traded for him, he’s posted a 4.74 ERA and 5.28 FIP … Worth a mention: Kyle Kendrick, Phillies. Kendrick has identical 0.4 WARs for both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, which isn’t too surprising considering his ERA (4.61) is nearly identical to his FIP (4.57). And neither number is good.

The good news? In his final season, while everyone can’t get over how amazing a player he was even until the very end, Derek Jeter takes the title at shortstop.


Ryan Howard’s New House Will Have Doorknobs Worth More than Your Salary

Photo via @mattstankowski

Photo via @mattstankowski

Ryan Howard’s massive moat-mansion, as we previously mentioned, is still being built. It’s been in the works for a long time, but now thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, we know more about the place. For example, did you know Ryan Howard is spending $80,000 on doorknobs alone? $80,000 — which looks like this in cash — is likely more than you make in a year. Ryan Howard has your yearly worth in a bunch of doorknobs.

Additionally, the $5.8 million (ONLY?) mansion will feature eight bedrooms (one of which I assume is for Ruben to crash in, as a thank you for the house), at least ten bathrooms, “a two-story library, a trophy room, two kitchens, three laundry rooms, two elevators, a wine room and a bowling alley.” Oh, and we can’t forget the “swimming pool complete with an underwater treadmill and lazy river that floats under the mansion.”

It’s like he watched a whole bunch of MTV Cribs and was like “Yo, I want everything from all of those places.” The bowling alley idea definitely came from Penny Hardaway’s house.

h/t PhillyMag


Ryan Howard Thinks You’ve Forgotten What He’s Done, Doesn’t Realize You Just Don’t Care

Screengrab via Zoo With Roy

Screengrab via Zoo With Roy

Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros played the real life version of that episode of South Park where they didn’t want to play baseball anymore. Ryan Howard hit a home run in the second inning, which gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead until Houston scored a run in the 7th. Then it went scoreless for another eight innings. Howard eventually drove in the winning run — actually beating the shift, truly waking up anyone who fell asleep at the game — in the bottom of the 15th. After winning the game in front of (an estimated) 600 tired fans, Howard did his best Ruben Amaro impression:

“You know, I think you guys forget what I’ve done. You guys look at what’s going on right now. People forget what I’ve done. Ryno has played the game. He knows. He knows the ups and downs of the game and he knows you’re going to have good days and bad days. For me, I’m just going to go out there and grind it out.”

When will Ruben and now Howard realize that we really appreciate what they did in the past, but it’s now six years later and that thankfulness has turned with (at best) impatience.

Chase Utley was intentionally walked to reach Howard, the sixth time this year such a thing has happened. According to Todd Zolecki, “He was 0-for-5 with one hit by pitch in those situations. He once reached on an error.” And speaking of Zolecki, he lays into the Phillies — almost as passive-aggressively as Howard poked writers and fans — in his recap, saying things like:

It was the Phillies’ fifth game of 14 or more innings this season, which tied a franchise record first set in 1958. It also was their sixth game of 13 or more innings, their most in a season since 1980, when they also played six and won the World Series …

Howard hit a home run to left-center field in the second inning against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel. It was his 17th homer of the season as he tries to recapture some of the power and production that made him a $125 million man.

What Zolecki, fans, other media, other GMs, and basically everyone but Amaro and Howard realize is this: That can never be recaptured, and the time to remember the past is gone. It’s not even the time to think about the now. It’s time to think about the future, and has been for a long time.


Howard, Burnett, Bastardo, More Put on Revocable Trade Waivers

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 1.09.36 PM

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies have put Ryan Howard, A.J. Burnett, Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, and Roberto Hernandez on waivers. These players can now be claimed by anyone, or clear waivers and be dealt to any team, or be pulled back off of waivers for whatever reason the Phillies want. They’re finally doing something about this roster though, and we’ll keep an eye on all of these guys.


Ryan Howard’s Slump may Force Ryne Sandberg to Play Him

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Howard is batting .151 since the beginning on July. Here is how this last road trip went for him (and Chase Utley):

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.52.52 AM

In Howard’s last 14 at-bats, he has zero hits. So, what does this mean for him? More playing time. According to Jim Salisbury, the benching of Howard and additional playing time of an also slumping (3 for 17) Darin Ruf was just to see what Ruf’s got. And now, since they’re both doing terrible, it’s time to start playing Howard again:

Since the benching, Howard has started eight of the last nine games and is just 4 for 36 over that span.

Sandberg seems to have changed his tune on Howard. He’s now echoing Amaro’s remarks that the Phillies need to do everything in their power to get Howard going. That translates to playing him.

“We’d like to get him going for us,” Sandberg said. “And he’s working on some things. He could be a big bat for us.”

Howard has 10 strikeouts in the last nine games. Despite that, Sandberg said he has seen improvement.

“He’s made progress with making some contact,” Sandberg said. “It’s a matter of finding some holes and elevating some balls, but he’s made more contact.”

Though it was a popular topic immediatlely post-deadline, a “Howard put on waivers” headline still sits unused, much like his bat. Why Sandberg thinks Howard, a man who still hits into one of the most extreme shifts in baseball, is going to all of a sudden become adept at hitting the ball into holes and lifting them over the heads of deep infielders is beyond me. Maybe it’s hope. Maybe it’s a general feeling of “well, this season is a bust anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.” But if the season ended today, Howard would finish with a batting average one-point below his career worst of .219, set during an injury shortened season in which he only played 71 games. He’s also on pace for a strikeout total in his usual 180s. It’s a continuation of the Amaro strategy: Put a name out there on the field, a name fans like and recognize, even if he isn’t producing in any manner.

Kyle: It’s as if Sandberg expects Howard to suddenly stop generating the most predictable ground ball spray chart in baseball:

via FanGraphs

via FanGraphs

But indeed Howard does have to start elevating the ball, because THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT DON’T GO TO THE EXACT SAME PLACE EVERY TIME.


Now Ryan Howard Hates Ryne Sandberg

I blame Ruben Amaro for this. It’s his fault that we have to see first Jimmy Rollins and now Ryan Howard passive aggressively refer to their Hall of Fame manager as a pronoun:

Voila_Capture 2014-07-24_04-27-52_PM Voila_Capture 2014-07-24_04-28-03_PM

This on the heels of Sandberg benching Howard two straight days and a report that Howard could be released after the seasonHey, uh, Mr. Montgomery, if you want to release me with $60 million and a lazy river in Florida, I’d be OK with that.


Ryan Howard Sits for Second Straight Day, as Changes Actually Begin

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have this habit during spring training of rolling out individual stars on given days, effectively giving each player a 24-hour news cycle of mostly positive publicity. But now, with the trade deadline approaching, the same concept inadvertently applies to whomever the media picks as their target for the day. The soup du jour today? Ryan Howard. He’s the soup of the day.

In today’s day game against the San Francisco Giants, Howard will ride the pine for the second straight day. Tim Hudson will take the mound for the Giants, and that is the weird part. He’s right-handed.

Darin Ruf gets his second-consecutive start at first base, and that points towards — for better or worse — actually giving Ruf a chance to get comfortable in the majors so we can really see what he’s got. Matt Gelb at the Inquirer thinks this also points towards Howard’s days being numbered:

“This, of course, is just another piece of evidence to support the notion Howard’s time with the Phillies is nearing a conclusion. The Phillies, Sandberg said, plan to audition other players with eyes toward the future. One of them is Darin Ruf. He will start at first base again Thursday and bat sixth.

Howard has not sat for consecutive games this season until now.”

In those spring training days, when even the team with the least potential can inspire excitement and confidence in the unknown, media and fans alike fawn over the stars they’ve come to know and love. But with over half of the season over on the schedule (and all of it over in terms of “hope”), the tide has fully turned. There is no positive outlook, no positive press remaining, because the potential of this team maxed out years ago. So every time Papelbon gives up runs, or Lee doesn’t have control over his pitches, or Jimmy Rollins goes down swinging, or Howard rides the pine, it’s pile on time. All of the eyes on the Phillies are viewing the games through a tarnished lens of “no future.” Even with the rare win, the highs are brought back down to middle-of-the-road level when you look at the team’s performance over time. Whether this is the end of the road for Howard is still yet to be seen, but it is, without a doubt, the end of this iteration of the Philadelphia Phillies. Even if the team stays mostly intact, this is not the team anyone (other than RAJ) wants, and that just breeds disappointment.

So sitting Howard makes sense. He’s not the first baseman of the future. Darin Ruf may not be either, but you have to at least try.


The MLB Could Make the Shift Illegal Just in Time for Ryan Howard to Stop Hitting the Ball Altogether

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, could but probably won’t. Over at SI.com, Tom Verducci presents his case for the introduction of an “illegal defense” rule:

“Support of an ‘illegal defense’ rule – or at least the consideration of it – is gaining some traction in baseball. Such a rule might stipulate, for instance, that you cannot have three infielders on one side of second base. A shortstop would be able to shift as far as directly behind second base on a lefthanded hitter, but no farther.

Is it time for such a rule? My gut reaction is that it is time to at least think about it. All-fields hitting needs to increase.”

Of course, a change like this would likely take a few years to actually go into effect, and the blame for hitting into the shift could also be placed on one-dimensional hitters who were never taught or told or trained to hit to all-fields. But nahhhh … RULE CHANGE. For once, the most egregious example of the one-dimensional pull-hitter isn’t our boy Ryan (though if Ryan Howard adds that check-swing-opposite-field-bloop above to his repertoire, this won’t even be necessary):

“Because the inverse does not hold true – you can’t put the shortstop in short leftfield because the throw is too long – shifts are killing one type of hitter in particular: the lefthanded pull hitter with little speed. The most obvious example this year is Chris Davis of Baltimore. He hit .402 last year on balls in play to the pull field. This year, with shifts against him becoming more frequent and extreme, he is hitting .186 on balls in play when he pulls them.”

This isn’t all the fault of the shift, as Verducci points out, also placing blame (or credit) at the feet of “increased velocity from pitchers; the popularity of the two seamer/cutter combination; the winking acceptance of substances such as lotion and pine tar to help spin the ball; and the depth of bullpens [which] have helped make hitting harder than at any time in the DH era.”

You can put Ryan Howard’s drop-off in batting average on balls hit into the pull field on injuries or age or whatever you want — Verducci put Howard’s 2010 .364 average against his .207 2014 average — since I’m pretty sure defenses have been shifting on Howard since before 2010. But there is a trend among the other hitters sampled, including Beltran, Teixeira, Choo, Ortiz, and more. “The shift is driving to extinction the lefthanded .300 hitter with power,” Verducci says, “In 1999, 13 lefthanded hitters batted at least .300 with 25 home runs. This year, there is only one such hitter on that pace.”

Verducci sees a bigger problem in pace-of-play (as do many fans) but says the MLB is unlikely to adopt any rules that would significantly impact that. So, is it time to break the shift?

“We can all sit here and pretend nothing is wrong and count on the natural ‘ebbs and flows’ of the game to self-correct the decline in offense. Or we can do what the lords of baseball have done many times when offense was down, such as outlawing the spitball and putting a clean baseball in play (1920), lowering the mound (1969) and introducing the DH (1973): we can update the rules.”

Or, just making Joe Maddon illegal may have the same effect.

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