Mr. September?

Friday, September 12, 2008 ·

Dare we dub Ryan Howard as, "Mr. September?" Yesterday, Howard stated his case by taking Ben Sheets deep twice, once for a homer and once off the very top of the wall in center field. In ten games this month, Howard is hitting .368, reaching base at a 41.5% clip, and slugging 1.000. Twelve of his 14 hits this month have been extra base hits (6 home runs, 6 doubles). He's also knocked in 15 runs this month, soon to surpass his August total of 19. He's homering in every 6.5 at-bats. He's well, the September Superman.

Has he posted similar production in the past? You better believe it. In his short career, Ryan Howard has absolutely murdered the ball in September. In 463 plate appearances, Howard has posted a line of .314/.436/.712. He's also homered 39 times and knocked in 96 runs. He's homered every 9.7 at bats. He an OPS of 1.149, Unreal. He's been everything we could ask from a clean-up hitter, in September, in the clutch.

Earlier this year, many of us, including myself, felt that teams have figured Ryan Howard out. We have been impatient with his impatience, but I think it is about time to accept who Ryan Howard is. Ryan Howard will strike out. An out is an out and Ryan Howard will make outs about 70-75% of the time. It happens and it comes with the player. To ask Ryan Howard to hit .300 would be asking the same from Mike Schmidt. Your average power hitter will hit between .250-.275 and generally the swing in average will be due to Ks and sometimes in Howard's case, the shift.

The year Ryan Howard hit over .300, very few teams played the shift on Howard because they respected his ability to homer opposite way. Now teams have come to understand that just about everything Howard hits on the ground will goto right field. It's a usual problem with power-hitting lefties. Howard's bat speed is so fast that he just about naturally pulls the ball. Now he will hit for power the opposite way and just about every single time he waits back a little bit more and goes with the pitch to left. However, Howard is what he is and you should accept that.

Ryan Howard is going to knock in plenty of runs for this team. He would have likely had more RBI opportunities if the men in front of him didn't slump in July when Howard was hot. Philly, we have one of the best power hitters ever, is he really worth trading? Even his glove has picked up of late. He has always been known to be able to move and flash his leather. He does have some problems with balls right at him, but most of his errors come from his throws. Someone needs to teach him how to throw. Lately, you can tell he has gone for the safer out instead of making a throw because I think he is hesitant about his own throw.

Honestly, I don't know what the Phillies are going to do with Howard. If the past speaks about the future, the Phillies will probably trade him to a team willing to pay Howard and receive prospects that offer little to the team. So, keep him. Pay him not only for his ability on the field, but his marketability off the field. You need a masher in the lineup and Howard is just that. Get over his average. Average is a good stat, but probably one of the last stats you want to look at on a player, especially a player similar to Howard. Howard's home runs are generally game-changers, not stat fillers.


Steve said...
September 13, 2008 at 7:21 PM  

This is a VERY accurate assessment of Howard. His contributions tend to get taken for granted by rabid fans, myself included.

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