Red Sox 25 in 25: Hanley Ramirez


2014 Recap:

Hanley Ramirez entered the 2014 season coming off a remarkable showing with the Dodgers the season before. While he missed almost half of the season due to a torn thumb ligament and pulled hamstring, he was incredible when he was on the field, slashing .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs in just 86 games, good for a 189 OPS+.

Expecting Ramirez to repeat that line in 2014 would be setting oneself up for disappointment and, while his season was a far cry from his stellar 2013 campaign, he still turned in a solid season, even for his lofty standards. Once again, Ramirez missed a good deal of time on the disabled list, but when he did play, he was fantastic as he slashed .283/.369/.448 in 128 games, walking at his highest rate since the 2008 season.

His power did drop off a far amount from his ridiculous 2013 rates, but that was to be expected and his .165 isolated power was still impressive given the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium and the NL West in general.

2015 Outlook:

It was a bit of a surprise to see Ramirez come to Boston on a 4 year/$88M deal, particularly with the additional signing of Pablo Sandoval, but he’ll add some major punch to the middle of their order. The Red Sox will move Ramirez, a native shortstop, to the less demanding defensive position of left field, where a Ramirez will once again play in front of the green monster. Left field should be a significantly less stressful defensive position and could help to keep Ramirez from the disabled list, as he has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons.

His natural athleticism should also help him transfer to left field with aplomb. However, even if he struggles defensively, he should have no problem slotting into the middle of a deep Red Sox lineup.

As a right-hander power hitter, the hitting-friendly Fenway Park and other ballparks of the AL East should aid him. Between the Marlins and Dodgers, he has never truly played in a hitters’ park and it’s easy to imagine that his power numbers could receive a bit of a boost. In addition, Ramirez has always made contact at a solid rate for a power hitter (career 16.6% strikeout rate) and has walked a fair amount, so he should provide an on-base threat in addition to the obvious power that he brings to the table.

The foremost issue for Ramirez this season will be staying healthy for a full year. If he is able to stay off the disabled list, though, the rest should be elementary for Ramirez. He’s an ideal fit for the Red Sox lineup and for Fenway Park and should be well worth his contract if he can stay healthy.