Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Phillies Career: .277/.370/.563, 271 HR, 820 RBI, 599 R, 19 SB
Best Year 2006: .313/.425/.659, 58 HR, 149 RBI, NL MVP
Ryan Howard is the most overrated and underrated player in Phillies history.
Howard quickly bursted onto the scene and became a victim of his own success.
He's one of three MLB players to win the Rookie of the Year Award and MVP Award the following season. Cal Ripken did it in 1982 and then 1983, while Dustin Pedroia did it in 2007 and 2008. It should also be noted that Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) won both awards in the same season.
He reached 100, 150, and 200 homers in fewer at-bats than any player in baseball history. His four straight seasons of at least 45 home runs and 135 RBI (2006-2009) and matched by just two sluggers in MLB history...Sammy Sosa and Babe Ruth.
Does he strike out too much? Yes... but so did Mike Schmidt.
Did the Phillies overpay for him? Yes...but locking up a premier power hitter is crucial to the middle of a line-up. Not only does he rack up the RBI, he gives the No. 3 and 5 hole hitters better pitches to hit. Jayson Werth is a perfect example, at least so far.
Once his extension kicks in, only Alex Rodriguez will be making more money than him.
I'll say this about the guy. He hasn't gotten overweight and lazy since he signed the extension. He's shed a lot of weight and has really improved his defense. He does need to give Lester Hayes a call, so he could put some stick-em in his first base mit.
Whether you're a fan of his or not, he's the best first baseman in Phillies history.
Just be glad that then Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi didn't pull the trigger on a Howard for Ted Lilly deal.