Red Sox: Predictions for biggest roster battles of spring training
First base: Hanley Ramirez vs Mitch Moreland
Both Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland found significant playing time last year at different positions.
Ramirez was the everyday designated hitter last year, and Moreland covered first base for the Red Sox. They switched it up every now and then, but that was the plan for most of last year.
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But now, with the addition of JD Martinez, if the deal is ever finalized, one of those two will be relegated to platoon duty. They both could be on platoon duty, but it is likely that one will play more than the other. Let’s dive into the stats and find out who should win the job.
Most people believe that Moreland will be a platoon hitter that will only face right-handed pitchers. Moreland had a .784 OPS last season against right-handers last season, compared to a miserable .684 OPS against lefties.
On the other hand, Ramirez had a down year against left-handers, which is odd for him. Over his career, he has an OPS of .897 against southpaws. But last year that was down all the way to .679. Many people chalk up his struggles to injury, but either way he was miserable last year.
We all know Ramirez’s $22 million vesting option kicks in if he reaches 497 plate appearances. I doubt the Red Sox allow Ramirez to reach that, but he will see more than just platoon duty against lefties.
Prediction: Hanley Ramirez wins the job, plays around 100 games at first base, but falls short of his 2019 vesting option.