Who has more to prove this season – Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval?
Sean Penney: Both of these veterans clearly have a lot to prove in order to live up the lucrative contracts they were given last year. It’s safe to say that Ramirez will hit as long as he’s healthy, based on what we saw last April. Aside from staying on the field, what he needs to prove most is that he can adapt to first base after failing miserably in left field last year, in part due to a lack of effort learning a new position. Sandoval improved at the hot corner late last season and should continue that trend if he can keep his weight in check, but his bat has been trending in the wrong direction for years and there are serious questions about if the former switch-hitter should end up in a platoon that sees him hit the bench against lefties. Ramirez has more to prove given that he’s learning a new position, but he also comes with more upside.
Jorge Camargo: The difference between Ramirez and Sandoval is that the third baseman has a history of winning and being a clutch hitter in the regular season and postseason. He is a bounce-back candidate because of his past with the Giants and three World Series rings, while Ramirez has always been an underachiever. This year he has to prove that he is worth the money the Red Sox are paying for him, or we may have another disaster like Carl Crawford on our hands.
Drew Peabody: Panda has more to prove since he was subpar on both sides of the ball. Hanley at least performed at the plate when healthy. Sandoval got better in the field but he has to be more consistent, especially in clutch situations.
Samantha Riley: Sandoval has more to prove this season. Even though Sandoval is younger than Ramirez, Sandoval is the one playing like the aging veteran. This should be the prime of his career. He also needs to prove that he is an upstanding ballplayer off the field by keeping his weight under control, dedicating himself to conditioning, and not Instagramming during games in order to win back the favor of the fans. Ultimately, he needs to prove that he actually cares as well as proving that he is a good baseball player.
Brandon Nickel: Ramirez – Defensively, Ramirez needs to be able to handle first base, his third position in two years. If he can hang on and not be a liability there, then they can keep him in the lineup this season. It’s not like they are going to take David Ortiz out of the designated hitter role just to keep Han-Ram’s bat, which also needs to prove itself to be more consistent. Sandoval isn’t incredible on defense but was never expected to be amazing there. He was a bat that could not be a joke at the hot corner. He was last season, but if he shows any competency then Red Sox Nation will look more at Hanley.
Next: Wright or Layne?