Boston Red Sox: Hanley Ramirez will be the most important player in 2017
Hanley Ramirez steps into a bigger role in 2017. Here’s why he’ll be the most important player for the Boston Red Sox next season.
Rewind to 2015, when Hanley Ramirez signed a 4-year deal worth $88 million dollars. This was sure to be his last long term deal, entering the contract at 31 years old. With Pablo Sandoval joining the Boston Red Sox he was going to have to make the move to left field, and Red Sox fans were hopeful this move would work out.
As we all know, it did not. It was an absolute disaster. Hanley was lost in the outfield. After a hot start at the plate, he was far too inconsistent in the middle of the lineup.
Move ahead to 2016; a fresh start and a new position. Protecting our beloved Big Papi in the No. 5 spot in the order. After it seemed as if his power had dissipated in the first half, Hanley exploded for 22 homers in the second half. He drove in 111 runs, good for 5th in the AL. Not to mention he was solid at first base.
However, in 2017, he’ll no longer be the protector, he’s the protected. This season he will take over the cleanup spot from David Ortiz and be the most important player in that lineup.
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After just turning 33 a few days ago, he’ll will be the lone true power threat. Although guys like Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts have proven they’ve got some pop, they can’t be counted on to provide consistent power the way Hanley can.
While he doesn’t need to have the same type of season that Big Papi had last year, with Dustin Pedoria, Xander Bogaerts and Betts presumably hitting in front of him, he’ll have a ton of chances to drive in runs.
Hanley is continuing his offseason conditioning program which he implemented last season, and will be playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic to prepare for the World Baseball Classic. While this may raise some eyebrows, remember Hanley will be off his feet for about 90 percent of the season so the injury risk decreases significantly.
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With Ramirez as the steady hand the in Red Sox lineup, they shouldn’t miss a beat in production.