Just How Bad Is Ryan Howard?
Lately, we have been getting feedback that we have been too lenient on Ryan Howard‘s performance over the last few years. We give him a pass far too often, they say. Sometimes, they just want to stop by the blog and see the guy torn to pieces.
Your feedback has been taken into consideration. I present to you, Just How Bad Is Ryan Howard?
Howard has a .298 wOBA. It is by far a career-low, and ranks 130th out of 160 qualified hitters. 25th out of 26 qualified first basemen.
Howard has a .161 ISO. He has shown similar power as Scooter Gennett, Brandon Crawford, Trevor Plouffe, and Luis Valbuena. He slightly ranks ahead of Coco Crisp, Christian Yelich, Matt Joyce, and Desmond Jennings.
Howard has a .381 slugging percentage. Teammate and noted power hitter Ben Revere is very slightly behind at .354. If Revere had gone into the break with only four more doubles, he would have nearly equaled Howard’s SLG.
Since June 20, Howard has hit one home run and posted a .156/.248/.211 slash line over 101 plate appearances. According to the Baseball Musings Day by Day Database, the only player to perform worse (by OPS, min. 75 plate appearances) in that span of time is 2014 Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes.
Howard is tied with teammate Cliff Lee as the second-highest paid player in baseball at $25 million. Dodgers starter Zack Greinke is earning $26 million. Howard is one strikeout behind B.J. Upton for the most strikeouts in the majors (116). At his current rate, he is on pace for 196 strikeouts, which would be the third-highest total of his career.
53.4 percent of the pitches Howard has seen this season are fastballs. The last time he saw fastballs at that rate was 2005, his Rookie of the Year season when pitchers were mostly unfamiliar with him. Pitchers now know he lacks the strength and bat speed to punish their fastballs. Howard has posted a .352 wOBA against fastballs, eight points below the major league average.
Howard has 56 RBI, they say, so how can he really be this bad? Howard has come to the plate with 285 runners on base total, the third-highest mark in baseball behind Albert Pujols and Casey McGehee. Howard’s rate of bringing other runners home (56 RBI minus 15 home runs) of 41/285, or 14.4 percent, ranks 113th out of 247 hitters (min. 200 PA), per Baseball Prospectus. If you still happen to be one of the few who regards RBI as a useful stat, that should be a cue to toss it in the trash.
Last but not least: After the 2014 season, the Phillies will still owe Howard $60 million through 2016, including his $10 million buyout clause for 2017. It’s worth pointing out, though, that Howard shouldn’t be faulted for being so expensive. The blame for that contract lies with GM Ruben Amaro.