Phillies 2017 Season Preview: Left Fielder Howie Kendrick

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Oct 19, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Howie Kendrick hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the 5th inning during game four of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Howie Kendrick hits a single against the Chicago Cubs in the 5th inning during game four of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick not only joined a new team in 2017 but will also be playing a majority of his games on the East Coast for the first time in his major league career. 

Phillies 33-year-old utility man Howie Kendrick has spent the entirety of his 11-year career in the city of Los Angeles playing for both the Dodgers and the Angels. In that time, Kendrick has been more than productive outside of a poor 2016 campaign. 

A career .289 hitter, Kendrick will be looking to rebound after posting a .255/.326/.366 slash line in 543 plate appearances last season. 

2017 Outlook 

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The move to bring Kendrick out to the East Coast was an exceptional one for this organization. Not only does Kendrick bring a veteran presence to an otherwise young ball club, he also brings with him talent and the ability to play multiple positions. 

2016 appeared to be an outlier in what has been an impressive career for Kendrick and it’s hard to expect that trend to continue.

Mind-boggling as it may be, Kendrick’s down year would have placed him as the fourth best hitter for average in Philadelphia’s lineup last year. Although it doesn’t truly fit the “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” moniker, even another down year for Kendrick would represent an upgrade for a weak-hitting Phils outfield.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Never one to be confused for a power hitter, Kendrick will rely heavily on the friendly confines and angles of Citizen’s Bank Park to improve on his .366 slugging percentage from last season. He will too, if history holds true.

Kendrick has played in ten games at CBP and has some impressive numbers in that span. In 45 plates appearances against Philadelphia, Kendrick is batting .310/.356/.500 with 3 doubles, a triple and a home run while driving in six.

Like many of the pieces general manager Matt Klentak has brought in this offseason, Kendrick proves as a low risk-high reward type of player.

If he performs well, the team could find itself getting a decent haul in late July. If the former All-Star underperforms, they still get a mentor to groom and hold a position for the up-and-coming outfielders of the future in addition well to a short-term contract as Kendrick is only signed through 2017. 

Next: Phils 2017 Season Preview: Starting Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff

Final Thought

The acquisition of Kendrick will be seen as an integral part of not only the 2017 Phillies but also the rebuilding process as a whole. Kendrick will be a mentor, a leader and, if he can regain his form, a valuable trade chip come late July.

All statistics reference are from Baseball Reference.

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