Philadelphia Phillies Featured Player: Left Fielder Howie Kendrick

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Apr 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick (47) hits a bases loaded triple during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick (47) hits a bases loaded triple during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports /
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After the Phillies traded for Howie Kendrick during the offseason, the left fielder is making the move pay off so far this season.

Needing a major upgrade in left field, the Phillies traded Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney to the Dodgers for infielder-turned-left fielder Howie Kendrick. Kendrick instantly became the expected starter in left field, but it was uncertain how well Kendrick would perform in Philadelphia.

So far, Kendrick looks to be worth the move. Through his first five games with the Phils, he already has nine hits, including three doubles and a triple that ended with him tripping into third base. Kendrick has driven in five runs and scored twice in 23 plate appearances.

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Kendrick’s .429 batting average is the best among qualified Phils hitters and his .667 slugging percentage is tied for first with Freddy Galvis. In addition, Kendrick is second only to Odubel Herrera in on-base percentage with a .478 OBP. Overall, Kendrick’s 0.3 fWAR is tied for first with Herrera and Daniel Nava.

Seeing Kendrick make an immediate impact is a definite benefit considering Michael Saunders, has a .211 batting average so far this season.

With Saunders not playing as well, manager Pete Mackanin may be more tempted to replace Saunders with Aaron Altherr in the lineup rather than Kendrick, which will give Kendrick even more playing time.

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Even though Kendrick will certainly come back down to earth to an extent over the next few weeks, seeing Kendrick come out of the gate hot is a positive sign. Last season, Kendrick finished April with a .333 OPS with the Dodgers. Currently, his stands at 1.145. He certainly should have a better start to 2017 compared to last year.

The end goal of acquiring Kendrick was and still is to trade him at the deadline in July. In order for a trade to happen, Kendrick has to be playing well so another team actually wants him. If Kendrick can retain a reasonable amount of his early success, trading him should be all the easier.

Next: Phils vs Mets: Live Stream, Start Time, TV Info

For now, Kendrick will look to continue his success Monday night against the Mets.

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