And Now Mike Schmidt on Ryan Howard and His Strikeouts…

Mike_schmidt_ryan_howardYo, maybe you should hit these the other way

The Mike Schmidt Bristol handy-jammy continued today. Michael Jackass stopped by Eric Karabell's Baseball Today podcast. The topic quickly turned to power hitters in today's game. First in Schmitty's sights? The Big Piece:

"I don’t see Mark Reynolds hating every strikeout. I don’t see Ryan Howard hating every strikeout. I see them accepting every strike, as 'oh he made a good pitch' or 'it’s just another strikeout.' Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if you were a Major League hitter and struck out 200 times? 

In today’s game, my sense is it would be easy to hit 45 home runs, if you’re going to accept 200 strikeouts, if you’re not going to boo me, if you’re not going to make it an issue, if you’re not going to demand that I change my style. How much fun would I have had if striking out was no big deal?

It would be like Ryan Howard… shouldn’t he want to learn to knock the opposition out of that shift? Shouldn't he want to learn that? I mean wouldn’t it be more productive to learn to take your weaknesses and 'I’m going to minimize my weaknesses' and say 'I’m going to change them.'"


And boom hath gone the dynamite.

Just so we're clear here, Schmidt is seventh all-time in strikeouts. Also, Howard has tied or eclipsed Schmidt's career-high in home runs (twice) and RBIs (4 times) in less than half the number of seasons.

Once again, Schmitty isn't entirely wrong in his comments. As someone who has tried (sometimes failed) to put folks in their place – ya know, that whole irreverent sports blog thing – I certainly can't throw the largest of stones at Schmidt for pointing out RyHow’s weaknesses. But for a guy who serves as a team ambassador (his word, not mine), he takes an awful lot of pot shots at your Fightin Phils.

The audio, as always, if after the jump.

H/T to reader Hunter for the heads up


24 Responses

  1. Very much agree. Howard looks clueless in so many AB’s…time to stop living off what he did 2,3,and 4 years ago..sorry just calling it like I see it. RBI’s are great, but he doesn’t walk, doesn’t hit to opposite field, and has poor (and declining) pitch recognition and plate discipline. Sorry to say it, but the truth hurts

  2. Yep, gotta agree with Schmidtty here, too. Last night’s AB’s should be shown to him on a loop until he stops fucking swinging at strike four. Jesus, already!

  3. ryan howard is having a pretty bad season.. his wOBA is 16th best among all qualified major league first basemen. his fWAR puts him at about the same level. he also has the seventh best fWAR amongst phillies position players.

  4. Trying to climb inside Schmidty’s head, and believe me, that’s a very scary place to be. I think he’s using his finely honed psychological skills to inspire “his guys” with negative assessments, in hopes that the players he names will ramp up their performance to prove him wrong.
    Probably a clue here about why nobody ever wanted Schmidt to manage a ballclub.

  5. Most of what he says is obviously true, but with Schmidt I always sensed some bitterness toward current players. Not sure why. Don’t think it’s about money. Schmidt was well compensated when he played (first or one of the first to make $2M+ per season). It just always has a whiff of “players aren’t as good as when I played” or “if I played today I’d have been even better.” It just seems bitter and jealous even if it’s mostly true.

  6. All the Howard haters coimg out of the woodwork. No one in Phillies history has ever put up the RBI and HR numbers howard does and everyone hates on him for strike outs. Come talk to me when u know something about baseball…

  7. i agree and disagree with all comments lol part of me thinks/hopes schmidt keeps making these comments to rev up the guys.. but like you said kyle, the ‘team ambassador’ tearing down the team?? thats almost what that guy from the mets is pulling… just sayyinn.. slight comparison.
    also sense some bitterness sometimes from schmidt. but what schmidt has to realize (or maybe he has who knows) baseball has become a pitchers game as of late. its a lot different now a days then it was back in michael jack’s days.
    with all of that being said, (aside from his homer tonight), if howard doesnt stop striking out and learn to hit to the opposite field, i’m gonna throw rocks at him.

  8. I’m no Ryan Howard hater by any stretch of the imaginatiion, however, there is a kernel of truth to what Schimdt said. Let’s be honest, people, Ryan’s discipline at the plate can be anywhere from suspect to downright awful at times, he rarely works a pitcher for walks and swings for the fences too damn much instead of simply putting the ball into play.
    Speaking of same, on the topic of that damnable shift, until Ryan learns to hit the ball to right field, and do so consistently, teams are going to continue employing that strategy until he beats it. Plain and simple. Yes, Ryan’s put up some truly monster numbers, but with more discipline and patience, he can cut down on the strikeouts and be an even better power hitter. Just look to St. Louis and a certain Mr. Pujols as a prime example.

  9. Michael Jack is just trying to make Howard accountable. We all know what Howard has done in his career to this point, I think Schmidt is making a point to Howard to not be content with past accomplishments. Pitchers/defenses adjust and how Howard has to adjust. It’s pretty hard to criticize Howard with the amount of run production he has to this point of his career so the best power hitting third baseman in baseball history has to step up and do it.

  10. Could you imagine how many more hits/RBI he’d have if he even learned to lay a push-bunt down the third base line? Just enough to throw out there when the shift is on and a runner’s on first.
    The swing he had the other night on the pitch that bounced and hit him was pathetic.
    But instead of calling for change, a large percentage of fans and analysts are simply making up excuses for him.
    Again, #20 is by no means NOT an asshole, but he’s doing nothing more than speaking truth.

  11. I don’t think that agreeing with Schmidt are Howard HATERS, but I don’t think that there’s a person in the world who doesn’t think that he should try to improve on his day-to-day. Schmidt calling him out simply opens some peoples’ eyes as to what he should be trying to improve on. I don’t hate on Howard, but, as I was explaining to my mother-in-law last night: “The thing about Howard is, he’s probably going to knock it out of the park or strike out. It’s the trade-off we deal with, but he can put up good numbers”. Imagine if we didn’t have to deal with the trade-off so much?

  12. Enough with the “push bunt” argument. No legitimate power hitter in the history of baseball has bunted on purpose ever. Strikeouts and poor plate discipline aside, there is still a chance he gets a hold of one in any given at bat. If you want him to drive the ball the other way, that’s different. But he isn’t up there to slap a swinging bunt down the line for a single.

  13. It’s not going to change anytime soon until this lineup gets at least ONE more homerun hitter in it. The junk he gets to see is ridiculous. And as long as he swings at it, out of desperation i guess, the more the Ks will mount. We need to go find another hitter. Or Utley and Brown need to come alive. It ain’t coming from anywhere else in this lineup.

  14. Totally agree howard needs to adjust to the shift. I remember when a few teams tried to shift on Utley and he just slapped grounders down the third base line for singles until they stopped. I see no legitamate reason why howard cant and shouldnt do the same. He’s been going in terrible slumps and what better way to get yourself going then slap an easy ground ball to third for a single every time and start opening up some holes for yourself.
    I think howard swings for the fences every at bat because he tries to do too much by himself. With a struggling offense like the phils ill take base runners however i can get them.

  15. @Miles off the top of my head i can remember seing Bonds, Delgado, and Utley all push a bunt against a shift. This team seems intent on trying to hit a homerun every a bat especially if the phils are down. Sometimes less is more and small ball seems to be a concept that no one on this team can understand besides polanco.

  16. John: Well, what can you expect since our players all take their cues from a manager who’s idea of “small ball” is a solo home run.
    Watching this team helplessly flail away, game after game, I wonder if they’re properly skilled in the fundamentals of just putting the ball into play and seeing what happens, instead, it’s all about swinging for the fences. Hell, even though Polanco is our best hitter by miles, fans, equally brainwashed into this “home run or bust” mentality like the players gripe about his lack of power which is stupid beyond measure.
    With NL pitchers having countered Ryan with the shift, it’s up to him to adjust. He has too much talent to become the 21st century version of Dave Kingman, Ryan could be a complete and fearsome hitter like Bonds or Pujols if he only puts his mind to it. If that means slapping singles to defeat all those defensive schemes, so be it.

  17. My only point on Howard haters is that so many people are quick to criticize Howard but never hear anyone ripe Utley. Chase has many flaws in his game and u rarely hear people talk about that. I do agree that there is room for improvement in Howards game, but lets consider he is the best player to come through this organization in a long time.

  18. Derek: Are we talking about haters, or merely critics? I would agree that there seem to be more of the former than the latter at times, but if Ryan gets what seems to be an undue amount of criticism, that’s because he’s the Phillies’ marquee player and fans expect him to launch moonshots and produce runs by the bucketload, and when he doesn’t, the disappointment with him is thick as pea soup. Fans come to the park to watch Ryan, not Utley whom I see as a borderline shot player who’s best years might already be behind him thanks to injuries while I feel that Ryan has yet to reach his full ascendancy as a superstar player. If I happen to be hard on Ryan with what I say here, it’s only because I see untapped greatness in him and I want it unleashed. Utley, not so much.

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