Ryan Howard has faced his fair share of criticism this year as he has endured arguably his worst season as a pro.
Still, count former Phillie and current analyst Marlon Anderson among those who still believe in the embattled slugger.
Speaking Wednesday on Philly Sports Talk, Anderson said he believes Howard can remain an effective player for the Phillies moving forward.
“For me, [his production] isn’t terrible,” Anderson said. “It’s not Ryan Howard like from the past, but it’s not terrible if you take his batting average away.
“He’s not trying to get out, I promise you. He’s going to be fine in the long run.”
Howard is batting just .220 this season, easily the worst mark of his career during a season in which he has accrued at least 400 at-bats. He is also slugging a career-low .377 with an abysmal .301 on-base percentage.
The 2006 NL MVP is currently leading the Phillies with 67 RBIs and is second on the team in home runs with 17. This is the first year he has played in over 100 games since 2011.
“I don’t think he’s going to knock in 148 RBIs anymore, that’s probably not possible,” Anderson said. “But if you can get 110 RBIs and 25 to 30 home runs out of Ryan Howard … you would be happy no matter what the batting average is, no matter what the slugging percentage is.”
Howard’s numbers currently put him on pace to finish with 24 home runs and 95 RBIs. His last full season in 2011, he finished with 33 homers and 116 RBIs. The Phillies still owe him $60 million over the next two seasons.
For more from Anderson, watch the video above.