Player: Ryan Howard
Consistency: Ryan Howard was once again a force to be reckoned with. He led the league in RBI’s and was second in home runs only to Albert Pujols. He was once again an MVP candidate. Howard, who usually starts out his years slow, was off to a good start, batting .288 with four homers and 15 RBI’s. He then cooled off in May and June and once July hit, he heated back up and was on fire.
He was then incredible in the playoffs until the World Series where he disappeared. He batted .375 and .333 in the NLDS and NLCS with two homers and 14 RBI’s combined but then hit .174 in the World Series with a homer, three RBI’s, and struck out a ML record 13 times.
Regular Season Stats: 160 G, 616 AB, 105 R, 172 H, 37 2B, 4 3B, 45 HR, 141 RBI, 8 SB, 75 BB, 186 K, .279 AVG, .360 OBP, .571 SLG
Post Season Stats: 15 G, 54 AB, 11 R, 15 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, 9 BB, 21 K, .278 AVG, .375 OBP, .593 SLG
Fielding: His glove tremendously improved in 2009. He made only 14 errors last year with a .990 fielding percentage.
Health: He was never hurt.
Intangibles: He lost 25 pounds and raised his batting average by almost 30 points. He has turned into one of the hardest workers on this team and is becoming a better hitter too. 13 strikeouts isn’t much but he cut the number from the past two years, an improvement indeed. His fielding also improved tremendously and he stole eight bases (he only had two in his career prior). He’s 30 years old, one of the elite players in the majors, and has plenty of outstanding years left in him.
Overall Grade: A-. He’s going to strike out but that will never take away from his ability if he can hit 40+ homers and drive in 130+ RBI’s every year. His power outage in the World Series was a fluke and shouldn’t take away from yet another incredible year. Jimmy Rollins was right: Ryan Howars is “the Big Piece.”