Fantasy baseball: The Fall of Ryan Howard

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As I mentioned earlier in today's best and worst post, Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Ryan Howard is doing things nobody in the game of baseball has ever seen.

And that, my friends, is a very, very bad thing.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Howard is on pace to strike out 227 times, a number that would shatter his own previous record of 199.

Now depending on what kind of league you play in, there's a good chance you could care less about his strikeouts as long as he's hitting bombs out of Citizen Bank Park at a regular clip.

His power numbers are among the leaders of the National League and after witnessing his incredible 2006 campaign (58 HR, 149 RBI, .313 AVG), it's easy to look past his current struggles and just cement him in as your designated hitter from start to finish.

But you're wrong.

I know you don't want to hear that, but you're wrong.

It's getting to the point where you need to bench Howard whenever he's facing a left-handed pitcher because he can't hit against them.

He's not average or mediocre against lefties, he is flat out terrifyingly bad against them and the numbers prove my point.

Howard is hitting a putrid .185 against lefties this season with only nine walks compared to a .244 average and 31 walks against righties. He's struck out a whopping 52 times against lefties and truly seems to be lifting off the ball as if he was afraid to drive it up the middle or to the opposite field.

Granted, Howard has struck out more against right-handed pitchers (55), but when you take into account the fact he's made 53 more plate appearances against them than lefties, it doesn't look so evenly matched.

Remember, you are a fantasy baseball manager so there are going to be times when you have to understand the matchups and bench Howard when he's facing a lefty.

Are there going to be times when Howard will come through against a left-handed pitcher?


But if you want to become a more consistent fantasy baseball team than pay attention to the upcoming schedules and seriously consider benching the big man when appropriate.

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"lifting off the ball" do you mean pulling off the ball? Lifting off the ball is something you do alone at night.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on June 26, 2008 1:52 PM.

Wednesday's best and worst of fantasy baseball was the previous entry in this blog.

Thursday’s best and worst of fantasy baseball is the next entry in this blog.

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