On Ryan Howard Benchmarks

Loyal Crashburn readers, you have my sincerest apologies for back-to-back articles on Ryan Howard. It feels like 2010 all over again here. I do want to make a point that I think is rather important, though, as it pertains to gauging the various levels of success Ryan Howard might enjoy in 2014.

In this article by Todd Zolecki, Howard says he is still a “30-100 guy” (meaning 30 home runs, 100 RBI).

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Ryan Howard and 30 Home Runs

Thirty homers. It’s a nice, round number. It’s a decent benchmark for power during the season, and it’s a level Ryan Howard used to reach regularly. And he thinks he can do it again.

His contention is that injuries have kept him from being full strength (understandable) and that age is really just a number (less so). There’s no arguing the injury point; Howard’s missed tons of time over the last two seasons, and even when he was in the lineup, he generally produced – much less just slugged – far below his career averages.

But in baseball, age isn’t always just a number. Sure, now and then you get guys who defy the odds, who put together solid-to-good-to-great seasons well into their 30s (from Raul Ibanez on up through Barry Bonds and Randy Johnson), but this isn’t the norm, especially when the most accessible examples are Hall of Fame-level talents. Howard is not a future Hall of Famer, but he was an elite slugger at one point. That point wasn’t recent, but at least it exists.

So, on its face, the claim that Howard could hit 30 homers isn’t a silly one, but there’s enough to leave one dubious.

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Giving Thanks to the Phillies

On Thursday, many families will crowd around the dinner table and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in their life. Some are in good or improved health, others have recently found employment or received a promotion, still more have found love. Me, I’ll be giving thanks for the grown men who run around in pajamas chasing a spherical object for seven months out of the year. Join me, won’t you?

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