Ryan Howard HR Chase

Ryan Howard

 

Making a grand total of $355,000 in today’s high priced marker, Howard is undoubtedly the cheapest HR source in baseball history. A relative unknown until late last season, it’s safe to assume that Ryan Howard is a young rookie that came out of nowhere. But in-fact, he’s a twenty-six year old playing in his first full major league season.

 

 

 

Drafted in the fifth round out of Southwest Missouri State University by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2001, Howard quickly advanced up the minor league ladder, hitting numerous home runs at each level along the way. After destroying AA and AAA pitching in 2004, the twenty-four year old Howard would have been called up to the show for just about any team in the majors, and certainly would be guaranteed to see playing time at DH if he was in the AL. But unfortunately for Howard, the Phillies had Jim Thome, his production and his $12 million contract standing in the way at first base. After a short 19 game September stint for the Phillies in 2004 (where he slugged .564), Ryan found himself back in AAA for the start of the 2005 season. He picked up where he left off the year before, hitting 16 home runs and slugging .690 before joining the Phillies for the remainder of the 2005 season after injuries to Jim Thome. Howard did nothing to disappoint, making Thome expendable by hitting a home run every 14.2 at-bats, a rate that would have placed him fifth in the NL if he had played the full season, ahead of even Albert Pujols! The only real concern after this season with Ryan was his three to one strikeout ratio, which was 100 SO:33 BB.

 

 

Spring training 2006 was Howard’s breaking out party, receiving national attention by hitting 11 home runs in just 28 games. So far this season he’s hit 56 home runs, including seven so far this month. The first thing that comes to my mind when hearing about his home run proficiency, is “he plays in that band-box park in philly!” I thought that this was a reasonable assumption. I was flat-out wrong. This season Howard has hit 28 home runs at home and 28 home runs on the road. The reason for his success? I couldn’t pinpoint it but I do believe his increase plate discipline has helped. He’s improved his strikeout to walk ratio this season to 1.85, striking out 156 times, but walking 85 times.

 

 

Howard is pro-rated to hit another seven home runs this season, which would give him a grand total of 63 on the season. With older pitchers tiring due to the steroid crack down and many minor league pitchers added to major league rosters for the month of September, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for Howard to outperform his predicted on pace HR production. He should surpass Greenberg, Foxx, Ruth and Maris on the all-time single season home run leader board. Pretty decent company for a man making the most of his opportunity.
 

 

 

Ryan Howard

 

 

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +