Says Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

1. Ryan Howard, 2004-16

Key fact: Won 2006 National League MVP Award, finished in the top five the next three seasons

Former manager Charlie Manuel nicknamed Howard “The Big Piece” because he knew he needed the slugger in the middle of the lineup to make the offense run. Howard had a remarkable eight-year stretch from 2004-11, slashing .275/.368/.560 for a .928 OPS and a 138 OPS+ while compiling 189 doubles, 17 triples, 286 home runs and 864 RBIs. He won the ’05 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the ’06 NL MVP Award. He finished fifth for the NL MVP Award in ’07, second in ’08, third in ’09 and 10th in both ’10 and ’11.

Howard set the Phillies’ single-season home run record with 58 in 2006, and he led the Majors in homers in ’06 and ’08 (48). He paced the Majors in RBIs in ’06 (149), ’08 (146) and ’09 (141).

“I’m not a home run hitter,” Ken Griffey Jr. once said. “He’s a home run hitter.”

Howard is the franchise’s all-time leader among first basemen in games (1,572), plate appearances (6,531), runs (848), hits (1,475), doubles (277), home runs (382) and RBIs (1,194). He is second with a .515 slugging percentage (minimum 1,500 plate appearances). He is fifth in OPS (.859). In the postseason, Howard hit eight home runs with an .845 OPS in 199 plate appearances. He earned the 2009 NL Championship Series MVP, hitting .333 with two homers and a 1.457 OPS against the Dodgers.


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