27 year old lefty swinging Ryan Howard really exploded on the scene last year and there’s no telling what he will do for an encore. Opposing managers were very scared of him in the second half as they intentionally walked Howard 31 times. Howard was amazing last season as he hit .313, scored 104 runs, smacked 58 homers, drove in 149 runs and had a 1.084 OPS. It’s amazing that Howard hit .313 because he whiffed 181 times last season. That means that when Howard made contact he hit an amazing .455 last season! I don’t think he’ll repeat the high batting average, but I think his power numbers could even get better in that baby stadium in Philly. Also, Howard has power to all fields so he has no problem whacking homers on the road. He does need to improve on defense as he made 14 errors which is way too many for a first baseman.
32 year old Randall Simon will be Howard’s back up. He had an amazing season in the minors as he hit .338 with 19 homers and 79 RBIs in only 314 at bats. He had a cup of coffee with the Phillies in September and went 5 for 21 (.238). He’s not a good defender, but he has a .283 career major league average in 1,609 at bats so he should have a good chance of making the Phils as a pinch hitter this season.
28 year old lefty swinging Greg Dobbs also has a good chance to stick with the Phillies, but he will have to beat out Simon. Dobbs hit .314 with a .826 OPS and 9 homers and 55 RBIs in AAA in 379 at bats. Dobbs did get 10 hits in 27 at bats (.370 avg) last season for the Mariners. It also helps Dobbs’ chances that he also can play third base.