Ryan Howard Is A Shadow of His Former Self

It is June 10 and Ryan Howard has seven home runs in 231 trips to the plate. Seven home runs used to constitute a good week for the slugger. Among full seasons, his previous low for home runs on June 10 was ten in 2010. His .185 isolated power this year is 90 points below his career average and his .306 weighted on-base average nearly matches his output last year when he was hobbled by his Achilles.

The biggest and most obvious change is that Howard struggles with fastballs a lot more than he used to. Back in 2011, he hit fastballs for a .345 ISO and .417 wOBA. This year, those numbers are .157 and .310. The numbers improve only marginally if you limit the sample to right-handed pitching.

Here’s a graphical look at the evolution — or de-evolution, if you prefer — of his performance against fastballs from right-handed pitchers in 2011 and in 2013. Continue reading…