Hanley Ramirez has always been known as a dog: someone who doesn’t work hard, lacks focus, and lacks that competitive drive found in the elites among the game.
So when the Boston Red Sox signed this scatterbrain to a four-year, $88 million contract back at the beginning of 2015, the baseball world was in shock.
Red Sox fans were mad. And the year he would put together in that upcoming season would only heighten the anger. In 2015, Ramirez disappointed by playing only 105 games, playing a sub-par left field, and hitting a measly 19 home runs, most of which came in the first month of the season.
Over the offseason, it was rumored that the Red Sox wanted to trade him. It was also reported that he’d have a new position: first base.
Most believed that he would be even more of a train wreck at first. How would he be able to scoop throws in the dirt? How would he catch errant throws? Cut-offs? Getting the right foot on the base? All were questions that Red Sox fans asked. Not to mention that Han-Ram would still have to bat.
His preseason predictions were not good ones: bad defense, shaky focus, inconsistent hitting, a virus in the clubhouse. These predictions were only fueled by Ramirez showing up to spring training without a first baseman’s mitt.
Everyone hated Ramirez at the beginning of this season. No one, including myself, gave him any sort of shot, hope, or chance.
And to his credit, he’s proved us all wrong.
At this moment, Ramirez has 28 home runs, 106 RBIs, and a batting average of .294. He’s hit and fielded — yes fielded — consistently well all season long. On July 25, he was named the American League Player of the Week.
Currently during September, Ramirez is having his best month of the season: nine homers, 22 RBIs, and a BA of .381, and there’s still a lot of baseball to be played this month. For the Red Sox, it is an incredible sign that Ramirez is at his hottest point all season during an incredibly tight pennant race.
His best moment of the season came a few nights ago when the Red Sox came from down 5-2 to down 5-4 in the ninth. Ramirez was up with men on second and third. Here’s what happened.
Man, I really can’t wait for the playoffs.
At any rate, none of us will ever know what clicked for Ramirez to get him to play this well. At the beginning of the season, some thought his better hitting spawned from a bigger leg kick. That was disproven the next day when Ramirez hit a home run without the leg kick.
Most look toward Ramirez to be the successor to David Ortiz at DH. Whatever the case will be next year, the focus is on this year.
So long as Hanley keeps being Hanley, the Red Sox should be fine.