Ryan Howard the 33-year old powerhouse cleanup hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies has been in a slow decline ever since his 2006 season when he hit 58 homeruns and won the Most Valuable Player award.
Howard, the Phillies’ first baseman, was given a massive and controversial long-term contract extension of $125 million just as his hitting weaknesses were exposed. Opposing teams got smart and shifted their players to the right side of the field, where as an extreme pull hitter, Howard was more likely to hit the ball. Late-in-game left-handed relief pitchers were brought in to throw him breaking balls in the dirt that he would often flail helplessly away at. He walked less and struck out more, no longer the feared hitter that he once was. Continue reading “The Struggles of a Slugger Who Forgot How to Have Fun”