New Phillies GM Pat Gillick brought to a conclusion the biggest head-to-head battle in the city's recent history (save perhaps Pat's vs. Geno's) when he traded first baseman Jim Thome to the Chicago White Sox, effectively ceding the position and the team's big bopper responsibilities to young Ryan Howard. In about two thirds of a season last year, after Thome succumbed to injuries, Howard performed brilliantly, slamming 22 home runs and claiming NL Rookie of the Year honors. So what will he do for an encore?
Basically, I think the dude is money. He's going to strike out. A lot. Maybe 200 times. But he will do great things when he does make contact. Special things. He has flat-out dominated at every level in which he has played, and that will continue.
Stay tuned next week, when The Good Phight contributor Shore and I compare and contrast Howard to some of the great power hitting sensations who have preceeded him, and explore the dreaded Sophomore Slump phenomenon.