Ryan Howard’s back.
Does that mean he should be on your fantasy baseball team?
It depends on how bad you need him.
If you’re in a NL-only league, you probably know there’s not too much at first base.
In that case, Howard could be a refreshing sight.
If you’re in a mixed league, there might be reason to wait — or let someone else take the risk.
Howard returned last week from an Achilles injury. He ruptured the left tendon in the playoffs last year.
He went 2-for-4 in his debut, but don’t expect that every day.
The truth is, Howard is in decline.
Here’s his slugging percentage since 2006: .659, .584, .543, .571, .505 and .488 in 2011.
See the trend?
Howard hit 33 homers last year and 31 in 2010, down from three straight years in the mid-40s.
He might still be a presence at the plate, he’s just not the same.
With half of the season gone, you could expect a .260 average with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs.
And if the Phillies continue to stay out of the race, maybe they give him some extra rest along the way, further suppressing those numbers.
If that’s an upgrade for you, pick him up or trade for him.