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Key Stats: In all 3 of his full seasons, Ryan Howard has hit significantly better in the second half. He has hit 47 points higher in the second half over the course of his career than the first half. In fact, in the second half Howard has actually hit .302. The reason that a guy who doesn’t contribute in two categories in standard 5×5 leagues can be ranked in the top ten is because if that league is head to head there’s a good chance he actually will contribute in four categories at the most critical time – the playoffs.

Skeptics Say: Even managers expecting a slow start from Howard last season had to question themselves when he was hitting .168 in April. Things weren’t much better for him in 2007 when he couldn’t crack .230 in the season’s first month. Instant gratification is not something you will get with Howard. He also strikes out a lot, but so do a lot of great fantasy players. The other category that Howard doesn’t contribute in is stolen bases, but that’s the case with every other first basemen too.

Peer Comparison: Last season Howard led Major League Baseball with 48 home runs. The next closest hitter to him was Adam Dunn with 40 home runs. Howard was hitting 20% more home runs than every player in the league. Howard had 146 RBI and Josh Hamilton was second with 130. So the next time that Matthew Berry writes an article about how he hates Ryan Howard because he is going to kill you in two categories please remember that he is going to win you two categories.

By comparison, Justin Morneau (#19 on MDC) and Lance Berkman (#15 on MDC) didn’t hit 30 home runs, while Prince Fielder (#25 on MDC) and Albert Pujols (#2 on MDC) finished with 44 and 30 less RBI respectively.

Lineup Outlook: The post on Jimmy Rollins discussed the value of Raul Ibanez on the lineup. Howard will be helped even more than Rollins. Assuming that Ibanez hits behind Howard somewhere in the order (likely sixth), Howard will be a threat to score anytime he reaches base. With runners in scoring position last season, Pat Burrell hit .234 which was especially terrible compared to Ibanez hitting .327 in those situations. Given that Howard is a candidate to drive himself home 50 times, the addition of Ibanez should assure Howard of getting over 100 runs again.

What They’re Saying: MLB.com: #6 First Baseman and #21 Overall; CBS Sportsline: #3 First Baseman and #12 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #11 Overall Fox Sports: #2 First Baseman; ESPN: #5 First Baseman; Yahoo: #3 First Baseman and #9 Overall

Projection: I hate Spring Training stats for players not coming back from injury or playing for a roster spot, but ignoring Howard’s 8 home runs this spring is really difficult. Especially given his April struggles. If this guy comes out of the gates hot, he will be a top 3 value.
107R 52 HR 139 RBI 1 SB .274 AVG .950 OPS

One Response to No. 8 Ryan Howard 1B Philadelphia Phillies

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