The Red Sox made the right move by putting Hanley Ramirez at first base for this upcoming season
Prior to 2016, Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez did have have a full time fielding position with the Boston Red Sox. Even though he spent most of his MLB career as a shortstop and a designated hitter, those two positions were already filled when he signed with Boston. Thus, the search started to find Hanley a new everyday position.
In 2015, Ramirez played the majority the year in left field. Unfortunately, he ended the season with a embarrassing -2.5 DWAR. So, it was time for another position change for Ramirez for this upcoming year.
Before spring training began, the Red Sox decided to put Ramirez at first. This decision was almost laughable initially. Many were convinced that this little experiment would be unsuccessful — especially since Ramirez has never fielded at this position in his entire big league career. However, as spring camp dragged on, those doubts started to fade. Now, with the regular season only a couple of weeks away, it is clear that the Hanley Ramirez experiment at first is going to work.
So far this spring, Ramirez has played in 13 games at first. Despite this being his first time fielding at this position, he has yet to commit an error. If he does not commit an error at all this March, it will only be the second time in his 11 year career that he has not made a fielding error during spring training.
Additionally, Ramirez is quickly picking up the basic defensive skills needed to field at first. He has even made some quality, almost replay worth plays at first base this month — like this diving stop a week ago against the Minnesota Twins:
Or this outstanding grab to rob St. Louis Cardinals’ Brandon Moss of a hit on Monday. It seems as though Ramirez already as the basics down at first. The more practice he gets at this position, the better he will be.
Funny enough, Ramirez even told the press that he actually likes playing first. He also mentioned that he wants the ball to be hit his way. Perhaps it is because he is excited to be back in his comfort zone — the infield. This is definitely a good sign for the regular season for it seems as though this once lazy fielder is actually excited about his new position and invigorated to perform to the best of his ability for the team.
Even though this is a small sample size, the success Ramirez has already demonstrated at first base so far this spring as well as his positive attitude regarding his new position proves that the experiment will work this season. Ramirez is excited to play at first and has been able to pick up the fundamental fielding skills quickly. As he continues to learn and improve throughout the first half of the season, fans will quickly adopt Ramirez as their everyday first baseman.
Is Hanley’s performance so far this spring just a fluke or the real deal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!