Part of

« A closer look at free agent OF Scott Hairston | Main | What if Michael Bourn is forced into a 1-year deal? »

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I can see Howard hitting 35-40 easy if he plays most of year.

I love the big guy, but 40 homers? I'll be happy with 30ish and playing the full season.

Wait... he may not be ready for the start of the season? He came back the end of last year. What have I missed?

Do I see an assumption that lineup "protection" actually exists?

40's not out of the question, but as JW says, he'll need to be better than he ever has. Will need to be much more selective and lay off junk.

Yeah,Why would he not be ready for Spring Training???

My mistake - may not be 100 percent fully healthy.

Some people forget that the ankle injury in 2010 hobbled Howard until the Achilles tear in 2011, wiping out 2012. If he is totally recovered from all that and in great condition, then he might return to form. But will his pitch recognition be any better? He should probably be rested more often. Sitting him against certain lefties would make sense. So, if he plays in 140-145 games and hits 35 HRs, then I think the FO will be satisfied. Getting the OBP up, the Ks down will make for a successful comeback.

I think "ready" in this case means "100% at the start of spring training" rather than "good enough to play" which he was at the end of last season. He'll be working out during spring training but they won't put him out there in exhibition games and ground ball drills when he still has strength to build. It makes perfect sense. You'll see the same thing out of Utley.

As for the thread topic, I am confident that Howard will play 145 games and hit 40 bombs.

I would be happy with 32-33 in a full season. Less concerned about his HR totals than his AVG/OBP numbers and how he hits vs LHP.

Howard will play more games than Utley! And hit 30 homers! Book it!

MG: Why would you care more about his AVG/OBP than power numbers? I can see production against LHP so he's not dead weight, but power is in such short supply. The 5 hitter may not top 15-20 homers this year ...

If it does matter, who bats behind Howard?

My guess is Michael Young to start.

I'm guessing Ruf or Mayberry will be hitting behind Howard until Ruiz is back..

"Less concerned about his HR totals than his AVG/OBP numbers"


10:48 & 10:51 Posts form the last thread not ne phans.

40 for RH amybe 30-35 if he stays healthy.

Just finishing watching MLB tonights segment on the NL East with Fareed, Heyman, B. Ripken, & Rosenthal.

They rank the teams Nats, Braves, Phils etc.
Ripken loves the Michael Young move. Heyman likes the Revere move but still thinks they have a move for a RH bat in them, but offered no speculation. Rosenthal thinks they can contend but is worried about their health and age. Nothing was mentioned about the 'pen.

Pretty much what we've been saying all off season.

Heyman was amazed they stayed under the cap. The crew thinks the Nats are stacked (the are), Love the Span & Haren moves & really liked the Braves getting BJ. Said they're still looking for a LF.


Young will hit second don't you think?

JW- Love the positive tone on Howard. Will love it even more if it comes true in 2013.
Chooch in the 5 hole makes the most sense to me in terms of lineup protection, if indeed such a thing exists, but Ryan hitting 40 bombs would sure be a good kind of deja vu.
Hope he is 100% healthy and has regained full strength after his Achilles tear.

Young definitely looks better hitting 5th than 2nd, at least to me. I don't like Revere batting 6th. I never liked bumping Vic from No. 2 in favor of Polly. It hurt Vic and wasn't anymore productive. Batting Young 2nd looks like the same thing to me.

I'm okay with Young or Revere hitting 2nd.. Or maybe bat Revere 1st and bat Rollins 2nd?

Howard, like most players, will see his OBP, AVG and power numbers rise and fall together because they are all results of doing the same act well (recognizing pitches). To look for one to rise without the other is silly (unless a player drastically overhauls their approach/swing). Sometimes being too focused on specific numbers obscures the fact that they are all by products of the same good habits.

Finally, another post by JW!

I think CM in his last season won't try to force Rollins into batting anywhere but lead off, so: Rollins, Revere, Utley, Howard, Young, Brown, OF#3, Ruiz and Hamels on OD.

Kratz, not Ruiz on OD.

Finally a thread about something interesting!!

I'm goin' for 45 HRs this year along with 20 stolen bases.

Oh, and a prodigious amount of RBI, also.

Won't matter, though, because I will continue to swing at bad pitches (I just can't see them, man), and the haters will continue to hate.

Im going for about 35 HR's. If we can get 2010 production out of him that would be marvelous.

RR, IMO it will be

Chooch (when he returns)
LF - Ruf?
RF - Brown?

The only caveat to that is if Ruf actually turns out to be the real deal. If he hits for decent average and some power Charlie may bat him higher in the lineup.

Also, if Brown proves himself and has a breakout year he could hit higher too.

Charlie has played the hot hand in the past. There's no reason to think he won't do it in 2013.

Oh, and as far as the thread topic is concerned, if the over/under on Howard's 2013 HR is 39-1/2, I'll take the over. Last season he hit 14 in 292 PA - on one good leg - so I think a healthy Howard gets to 40.

Was he even 75% last season?

Ryno hits 40 tater-tots easy,alot of them to left:120 plus ribs no problem.By the way, I, for one don't hate Michael Martinez...but I am a pessimist.

Bath salts for christmas

I though lineup protection was a myth?

I do believe Howard's production with men on base is real. Getting teams out of the shift makes sense as a reason for Howard to improve with men on.

I'd much rather stack OBP guys in front of him to hope he is up with men on as much as possible.

My preference for Opening Day/ Chooch back:


Against a lefty I'd move Brown down to 7th and Young up. Mayberry in for Nix and bats 6th.

I do not see Howard getting 40HR since teams have learned how to pitch to him and that I do not think he will play 150+ games.

This is fun!

If Howard and Utley combine for 65 home runs, they make the playoffs.


I always liked Howard despite his limitations. Averaging 50 HRs his first four full seasons and, even if you eliminate his big year, averaging 47 HRs from 2007-2009. What's not to like!

In 2010 and 2011, Howard started to have foot and ankle problems and did not have the monster Septembers that he produced previously.

I chalked up his drop in production to injury and assumed he would return to form. After the Achilles tear, though, I did a 180 on my opinion of Howard.

My current view of Howard is that his foot and ankle problems may be chronic. Not unusual for an athlete of his body type.

I think Howard can return to his production level of 2010-2011, i.e., 30+ HRs and a .350+ OBP. I doubt he can return to the 40-HR level.

If close to 100% healthy and plays 150 games, Howard will hit 40/125.

Sure, write him down for 40, what the hell? Maybe even a comeback player award or something.

Why Young will hit second (other than the Charlie Manuel "well, he's a two hole hitter, so he hits in the two hole"):

Hitting 2nd: .309/.358/.466
Hitting 3rd: .290/.339/.417
Hitting 5th: .297/.324/.416

Howard is still going to hit for a moderate level of power. He showed that even last year although I think it is going to be around 30 HRs instead.

The reason I am more concerned about his AVG/OBP though is because I don't want him to press at the plate thinking he needs to sacrifice those a bit for more power.

Rather have 30 HR out of Howard than 40 if it means he hits say .250-.260 with a BB rate slightly higher than his career average instead of .220 along with a BB rate that is lower than his career average.

Howard is going to go through some periods at the plate where he looks just awful. Who is he as a hitter. Just hope that he doesn't press too much thinking he needs to deliver.

"He's been working out, even on his honeymoon."

Maybe this was a reporter's attempt at humor. Everyone works out on their honeymoon. Given what his wife looks like, he may getting in a few workouts a day.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

If he hit 14 last year, 32 is the floor, 45 the ceiling.

Howard hit for 31 HR power in 2102.

That is, he hit 14 HR in 71 games. Extrapolate it to 162 games and he would have hit 31.

And he did it on one good leg.

His first game in 2012 was game #85. He missed game #86, and then played in every game until #116, missed #117, and played in every game until he broke his toe with the foul ball and missed the last 5 games.

And he did it on one good leg.

If he's healthier this season, and by that I mean over 90%, IMHO he's a lock for 150-155 games.

40 HR becomes a definite possibility if that happens.

Agree with RBill. Young is going to hit second.

As horrifying as it is, Nix is the number #5 guy against RHP before Ruiz returns:




What I'd like to see:


One other item:

The last time Howard played in 160 games was in 2009 when he hit 45 HR.

IIRC he was doing OK in 2010 [.292/.356/.528] before he sprained his ankle running the bases, missed 3 weeks in August, and returned with diminished power going .231/.345/.441 with only 8 HR in 168 PA from August 21st until the end of the season.

In 2011 the achilles hampered him until it tore.

So the truth of the matter is that Howard hasn't had a completely healthy season since 2009.

And neither has Chase Utley, who hasn't played in more than 115 games since 2009 (156).

Coinicidentally, the Phillies haven't had playoff success since 2009 either.

Or is it a coincidence?

Iceman, with your potential lineups, are you inferring that Ruf won't be on the team?

Rather have 30 HR out of Howard than 40 if it means he hits say .250-.260 with a BB rate slightly higher than his career average instead of .220 along with a BB rate that is lower than his career average.


MG: Seriously? Howard has never hit below .250 in any full season he has played. Are you trying to put forward an argument that 2012 was a normal average year for him?

Because their injuries have been recurring, I don't think it's reasonable to assume that either Howard or Utley will be healthy in 2013.

I think it is reasonable to assume that Halladay will be healthy. His injury was not career-threatening as far as we know, and it may have been a one-time thing.

I predict a Halladay bounce-back to his Toronto years (non-CY category).

I predict that Howard will play a lot of games in 2013, but will continue to have foot and ankle problems and be no more productive than he was in 2010-2011. Not bad, but not great.

I predict that Utley will play 100-110 games and be very good in the games he plays. Galvis will get a lot more playing time at second.

My predictions are on the sunny side since Halladay is the most important of the three and should resume being a top guy and since Howard and Utley will remain valuable.

I think that gets the Phils to 87 games with the other changes made this off-season. They are far away from a division title; probably not enough for a WC. I see the Giants, Dodgers, Reds, Cards, Nats and Braves ahead of the Phils. Now what?

TTI, MG, like many posters here, understands what career averages are, but when analyzing players performance and projecting them forward, focuses mightily on the most recent performance, regardless of the circumstances.

That's why so many posters here expect the Nationals to be as good or better in 2013, because 2012 - when their top 4 SP ALL had career years - is seared in their memories.

It's why many posters here expect the Braves to be as good or better in 2013, because 2012 is seared in their memories.

As I posted at 8:58, Howard hasn't had a completely healthy season since 2009 - and neither has Utley.

So frankly, it's this simple:

If they are both healthy in 2013 and both play at least 140 games, I don't think any of us really know what to expect, because there is no recent track record of them being healthy, so we really don't know how much of their performance drop off was due to the injuries and how much was due to decline.

Derek, what's your Over/Under on the number of games Utley and Howard play?

Oh, and please use 1/2 game in the numbers so there is a clear demarcation line. Thanks.

JW/one of your lackies:

An entertaining time killer in this offseason lull would be to post a poll for a spot in the lineup each day. Whoever gets majorty of votes is named to that spot, removed from the choices, and then revote for the next spot - and so on.

My bet would be no one except maybe Howard @ #4 would get higher than 50% of the vote at a given lineup spot.

AWH - Utley - 107 1/2
Howard - 144 1/2

I'd put Utley closer to 121 and 144 for Howard seems reasonable.

I also think Howard gets to 31 HR, since he's been at about a HR for every 20 PA over the past 3 years. Awh is right that he's been injured during that time, but injuries (especially Achilles injuries) don't just go away from large, hulking men in their 30s.

So 144 games gets him to 616 PA (career PA/G rate), and at 1 HR/20 PA, I see 31 HR. If he gets into the 150s in games played, he might sniff 35.

If I was an opposing manager, any left handed pitcher that threw Ryan Howard a fastball anywhere near the strike zone would be fined heavily. Until he learns to hit a curve ball, he'll never hit 40 again.

I'm also with MG in that I'm confident he's going to hit HR. What I'm interested to see is if his BB% rebounds to the elite levels it was from 2006-2011 (2010 excluded), and if he can keep his K% around 25% (and not balloon up to 30%). If he can do those things, a .260/.350/.490 campaign is definitely in play.

I'd be happy with that.

derek, with the caveat that it's not even January and ST hasn't started, I'll take the Over on Utley.

Howard? I'm leaning toward the over, but I need to think a bit.

awh: I don't think the Nationals will be as good as they were last year.

I do, however, think they will be better than the Phillies.

Fatti, good post.

Howard's career HR/PA was 14.2 through 2009.

The question is if he's healthy can he move the needle form 20 down towards 14?

It'll be fun to see.

"Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come." - Ryan Pedro Cerrano Howard

TTI - If I had to guess, I would say around .240 but it depends on:

- Luck
- Howard hitting less ground balls because I don't see him matching his career .196 AVG on ground balls this year with his lack of speed. It will probably cost him at least 3-4 hits over the course of the season.
- How badly he struggles vs LHP (been horrendous 3 of the last 4 years - '09, '11, '12)
- How much he presses at time to hit a HR.

awh, I'd love nothing more than to see him crank out 40+ HR. A good Howard makes this team that much better, and I love to watch the Phils win!

Two pitches that eat Howard up are changeups and sliders.

I would love to see Howard's career numbers vs Feliciano's slider in his 38 career PAs against.

What killed Howard more than anything last year was not his poor production against LHP (which hurt to be sure), but it was that he didn't customarily destroy RHP:

LHP: 89 wRC+
RHP: 140 wRC+

LHP: 71 wRC+
RHP: 178 wRC+

LHP: 121 wRC+
RHP: 130 wRC+

LHP: 75 wRC+
RHP: 145 wRC+

LHP: 60 wRC+
RHP: 104 wRC+

Howard is going to struggle against LHP; to me, that's almost a given. But if he's not brutalizing RHP, that's when he's in trouble.

fatal: good post, I was just about to say the same thing until i got to the bottom of the thread - saved me time.

I would love to see the actual numbers to verify it but it seemed like pitchers (especially RHP) last year starting challenging Howard more with fastballs really early in the count.

They realized he didn't have the same bat speed to hurt them and that the goal is to get 2 strikes on him because Howard is a horrendous hitter in those counts.

Largely becomes a pure guess hitter and unless a picture makes a really bad mistake it is really easy to get him out (especially on a K on which he has done at greater than a 50% rate since '10).

I really hope Cholly has the common sense to occasionally sit Howard vs LHP pitching especially if it is someone he doesn't have much career success against.

Howard at 33 (going on 34) and coming off the Achillies isn't a guy who should be starting 155-160 G this year at 1B.

I like to see the Phils pencil him at more like ~145 G or so.

Great post JW. A very good point about Werth. Even though the Nats signed him to a ridiculous contract the Phillies could not match, the Phils have never been able to replace him and I don't think he was ever fully appreciated here because of all the star power the teams he was on had. We'll be looking back at that 2007-2009 lineup as legendary in 20 years.

As far as protection goes now, maybe Rollins is our best option? I know he always seems to hit at his best in the leadoff position, but he seems content to hit for more pop now. It also gives us some speed down in the lineup.

corner OF
corner OF

Then when Ruiz is back you put him behind Rollins.

I still haven't given up on Dom Brown either. I think he could breakout, but the probably is the string of lefties if he batted 5th.

Not so bold prediction for Ryan in 2013:
37 HR, ~110 RBIs, BA around .270 or so.

If Dom Brown actually has a breakout year, he should be hitting 2nd, not 5th.

His best skill is plate discipline, not power. Even when he was a hot prospect, he only projected to hit 20-25 HRs. But his minor league numbers indicate a guy who could be a .290/.370 hitter, regardless of power. That guy should be at the top of the lineup.

Schmidt did have his last 40 HR season in '83 at 33 for what it is worth.

I was really hoping that Howard would be able to get in a normal offseason workout regimen this year but then he broke his big toe at the end of the year & got married.

Howard's going to rebound a bit but I do think he struggles to return to even his '10-'11 form (.265/.350/.497 with .847 OPS) and the fans are going to get on him & in a major way if this team struggles overall.

I really hope it doesn't get to the point this upcoming season where Howard really hears a lot of boos on a regular basis from the fans. If he gets out to his typical slow start in April, I do think he is going to hear boos regularly by May.

Does anyone actually expect Manuel to put Revere leadoff? I think Revere and Brown should hit 1 and 2 but there is no way old Charlie takes Rollins out of leadoff.

I would pay to NOT have Revere in the leadoff spot.

The leadoff spot is not the place for a career 78 wRC+ hitter. Much rather have Rollins, who has been a better than league average hitter the last two years, there.

Also, Ben Revere has a career .319 OBP. Rollins has had 10 seasons with an OBP over .319.

I'm expecting the following lineup:

1. Rollins
2. Young
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. RF
6. Brown
7. Kratz
8. Revere
9. P

I don't exactly think that's the best lineup, but I can't imagine our oft-predictable manager will do anything else. I could, however, see him switch #5 and #6 depending on the handedness of the starting pitcher.

Red Sox are looking for a first baseman.

If Rollins hits first I am calling for uncle Charlie's head.

If Rollins hits first I am calling for uncle Charlie's head.

Posted by: mattcrwi | Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Who ought to hit in the leadoff spot instead?

I'm not saying Rollins is a good leadoff hitter, I'm just struggling to find a better option on our team.

"They realized he didn't have the same bat speed to hurt them and that the goal is to get 2 strikes on him because Howard is a horrendous hitter in those counts."

So what?

MG, while what you posted is true, it's not really meaningful in any way.

Howard is horrendous along with the rest of MLB.

Howard, career with 2 strikes:


MLB slash line with 2 strikes:

2012 - .178/.244/.273

2011 - .180/.247/.272

and so on...

i love michael martinez. he should be the everyday 3rd baseman. use young as a platoon.

"I know he always seems to hit at his best in the leadoff position, ..."

Len, that is incorrect. rollins hits his best in the 6-hole.

Any way to see how our offense has done as a whole in the last few years with Jroll leading off vs other spots?

i love michael martinez. he should be the everyday 3rd baseman. use young as a platoon.
Thanks for the laugh, I needed one this morning.

Fatti, I agree about Revere.

He's a .263/.310/.294 hitter in 581 PA batting 1st.

He's a .307/.340/.368 hitter batting 2nd in 404 PA.

He's a .310/.333/.345 hitter in 31 PA batting 8th.

Anybody wanna guess where Charlie bats him? :)

Rollins hit well in the 6 hole when he was young and still establishing himself. He's got himself thinking he can't hit anywhere other than lead off. He'll hit lead off again. I get MY batting 2nd. I wonder if post-PED Ruiz couldn't go back to 8th, where he did well, and provide a measure of protection for the OFs at the bottom of the order. An OF batting 8 will more or less insure a poor result.

I love the "Red Sox are looking for a first baseman" post. It's OK to dream that someone else would take over Howard's "premature" and overpaid contract. 40 home runs are a thing of the past when you continuously swing out of the strike zone! Exactly how does a bad ankle and Achilles cause a person to swing at pitches way off of the plate and watch fastballs right down the middle? In 2013, Howard continues to walk back to the dugout shaking his head (c'mon, you can all picture it), and the Phillies continue to regret signing Howard to an over priced contract earlier than they should have. Sorry.

Great post awh--BR shouldn't be wasted at the bottom half of the order, which is what happened to Vic when Polly returned. Collectively, and while I understand batting MY 2nd, the collective result might be better if Revere bats 2nd and Young 5th. Just a thought.

I think he'll make it to 32 homers, but thats his height.

Fatti - Two points:

1. How can you talk about Revere's career numbers? He hasn't had a career yet. He's just getting started, and his second year was a decent improvement over his first. We don't know what he is yet. I wouldn't plan to start him at lead-off, but he could earn the job. Young guys improve.

2. What about Utley as a lead-off guy in the 107 1/2 games he plays?

derek, if he improves to the point where he becomes a viable leadoff guy, sure he can bat leadoff.

But unless he learns to walk a lot better or starts getting Ichiro level BAbip, he's going to be about a league average OBP guy, which is fine, but it's not suited for the top of the order, especially when you pose 0 power threat.

Also, I like Rollins leading off better than Utley for 2 reasons:

1. Rollins is a switch hitter, and is less likely to be neutralized late in a game by a specialist.

2. While Utley is undoubtedly a better hitter than Rollins, Rollins is still a league average hitter who is world's better at stealing bases than Utley. That combination has value at the opt of the order. Again, not an ideal leadoff hitter, but we could do worse.

I'm told Howard is down to 385 now and should be in the best shape of his life by the end of ST.

I have one minor issue with JW's historical account. Beerleaguers were hating on Howard long before he signed the extension. See any post by Jack, pre-extension.

I've hated Howard since he was in tee-ball, so there's that.

"Rollins is still a league average hitter who is world's better at stealing bases than Utley."

Fatti, allow me to amplify that statement.

Rollins steals a lot more bases because he runs more than does Utley.

Utley is the more proficient base stealer - when measured by success rate. Perhaps it's because he picks his spots better.

In the past 4 seasons Utley has stolen 61 bases and been caught stealing 3 times - 95.3% success (career 89.6%)

In the past four seasons Rollins has stolen 108 bases and been caught 22 times 83.1% success (career 82.9%).

Both are excellent base stealers.

Trivia reminder: Utley is the ONLY player in MLB history to steal 20 or more bases in a season and never get caught (2009).

One more prediction: If Dom Brown does not get hurt again, he will put up quite acceptable offensive numbers at age 25 in his first full season. Better than .350 OBP and .800 OPS.

RR, it will be interesting to see what the batting order looks like.

While Revere would probably do well overall in the 2-hole, the problem with hitting him in that spot is that it would mean a LOOGY for sure in late innings with Utley/Howard at 3/4, a lineup from which I do not expect Charlie to deviate.

IMHO, I think Charlie ought to try this - in a best of all possible worlds (or hope):

Ruf (if he has a good ST and makes the team )
Brown (ass-u-ming he wins the RF job)

While the above lineup is built upon the hope (and maybe a prayer) of Ruf being real and Brown breaking out, if that does occur this team could be a contender for a WC (88 wins got it done in 2012) as long as the starting pitching holds up and the bullpen doesn't crap the bed.

AAMOF, this team may be able to compete - period - as long as the SP and BP hold up.

A Beerleaguer can dream about Howard hitting 40 home runs, but why isn't there more talk about Roy Halladay? The man many of us would have considered the best damn pitcher in the game prior to 2012.

I believe much of the Phillies success in 2013 relies on the health and production out of Halladay, Utley and Howard like many of you have pointed out, but mostly out of Halladay.

awh, thank you for calling out MG on his nonsense about Howard with 2 strikes. He's just throwing crap against the wall.

"I really hope it doesn't get to the point this upcoming season where Howard really hears a lot of boos on a regular basis from the fans. If he gets out to his typical slow start in April, I do think he is going to hear boos regularly by May."

Is this an exact copy/paste from an MG post this time last year?

awh- I'm of the opinion that Ruf isn't going to have a good enough spring training to convince Cholly/Amaro to give him significant playing time. I certainly hope he proves me wrong.

awh: Yeah, but in terms of total baserunning value, Rollins produces more, because his volume makes up for the fact that he has a somewhat lower success rate. Of course, he's also in the lineup more, which helps. We should also acknowledge that there is more than stealing bases that goes into baserunning (1st to 3rd on singles, 2nd to home on singles, 1st to home on doubles, etc.) Both Rollins and Utley excel in those aspects as well.

Both are among the best baserunners in all of baseball. In fact, since 2005, Rollins has produced the most value on the bases (58 runs) in all of baseball, while Utley is 9th (40 runs).

Over 8 seasons, of course, 40-60 runs isn't all that much. But small things add up. Proficiency on the bases is just one of the reasons that both Rollins and Utley will go down in history as the best at their positions in franchise history.

derek: ". What about Utley as a lead-off guy in the 107 1/2 games he plays?"

The lineup maximizer tool, based on last season's stats, says Utley should bat leadoff and Revere should bat 9th.

As currently constructed Ruf is making this team regardless of ST. I do however think he'll be the first off if they acquire another OF somehow.

For the Ruf lovers, wouldn't the best scenario for him to be starting in AAA and mashing for the first month or two, and earn the chance to be a starter once someone underperforms/gets injured?

Having him start in the MLB already will force him into a platoon/bench role where being a RHB will likley reduce his PAs to about 6-7 a week. Why would you want to see that?

The comments to this entry are closed.

EST. 2005

Top Stories


Rotoworld News

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Contact Weitzel