Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What Can Sox Expect From Hanley Ramirez?

Hanley Back In the Day
I can still remember the game—a St. Patrick's Day tilt at City Of Palms Park in March of 2005. A raw young kid named Hanley Ramirez was in the lineup for the Red Sox—resplendent in the team's holiday green uniform. Little did we know that we were watching a soon-to-be Rookie Of The Year (2006), perennial MVP candidate and three-time All-Star. Today, that "kid" turns 31 years of age and is re-united with The Carmine Hose. What should we expect from this more mature HanRam? Are his petulant, self-serving days behind him? Can he stay healthy? Can he re-gain MVP-like form? The answers to these questions will go a long way toward determining whether the Red Sox contend for the AL East title. Let's look at the numbers. Last year, he was on the field for 128 games (79% of the Dodger schedule)—not bad, but not that great, either. In 512 plate appearances, he hit a respectable .283—with a .369 OBP. He hit just 13 HRs, but knocked in 71 (which projects to about 90 RBIs had he played the whole campaign). At the end of the year, he finished eighth in MVP voting. In the three previous years (2013, 2012, 2011), he averaged only 81 games. And yet, while playing only 86 games in 2013 he hit 20 HRs and drove in 57, while hitting .345. If Boston's new medical staff can keep Ramirez on the Fenway green and in the middle of the lineup, there's no reason why he can't put up .300/30/100 numbers in 2015. He is still that good a hitter.