Ryan Howard was one of the many Philadelphia Phillies who struggled last season. He also is one of the biggest targets when it comes to throwing the blame around. In reality Howard has not only been a great teammate in the locker room, but he has been one of the best players not just in Philadelphia, but in all of baseball for the past 6 years.
During Howard’s first press conference with the media earlier this week, he seemed upbeat and excited about the 2013 season. He talked about how he does not believe his achilles injury that kept him out of the lineup for more than half of the season last year will be an issue. He also spoke about the ending of an era for this Phillies team by saying “if you focus on the window closing, you then you never let that cool breeze come in.” Howard appears to have a great attitude heading into this season about not only himself but the whole Phillies team.
When you ask Phillies fans who has been the most disappointing starter in recent years, for some reason many will mention Ryan Howard. A lot of people get the wrong idea about Howard’s game because they see a lot of strike outs. In reality Howard has put up numbers that have led to him finishing top 10 in the NL MVP race every year since 2006, except last season. ]
Howard has finished in the top 5 of the MVP race in 4 of those years, winning the title in 2006. He also won the Rookie of the Year award in 2005, he led the NL in home runs twice and has been the National League RBI leader three times. Even during Howard’s injury plagued season last year, he still had 56 RBIs in just 71 games. Averaged out over a full 162 game season that would be roughly 130 RBIs, which would have been the best in the NL and second to just Miguel Cabrera overall.
Any success the Phillies have this year will rely on their core group of players staying healthy and returning to top form. Ryan Howard will undoubtedly be looked at as disappointing by some fans during parts of the season but it is clear that he has been a major reason the Phillies have had their greatest era in franchise history during the past 5 years.