Where Is The Uproar For Hanley Ramirez’s Slump?

While the Red Sox still sit in first place in the East, they have had their fair share of disappointments this year. Injuries, unfulfilled contracts, and astronomical ERA’s have low- lighted 2017. Not to be lost in these disappointments is Hanley Ramirez’s slump, although you won’t hear too much about it.

Ramirez’s brutal 2017 season so far has been swept under the rug. Whether it be Pablo Hanley Ramirez's slumpSandoval’s contract, John Farrell’s questionable managing or a pitcher blowing up on a reporter, there has always been something to talk about. If you don’t quite understand the severity of Ramirez’s ineptness, I won’t blame you. I’m here, however, to enlighten you. Buckle in.

It seemed Hanley Ramirez would finally be comfortable in a Red Sox uniform this year. He is finally the DH and would feasibly only play first base about twice a week. With all this time to focus on hitting, it makes you wonder how much Hanley’s got going on up there. Ramirez is hitting .241 with just a .747 OPS. You want to argue he’s just a power hitter? What power hitter do you know only has 17 extra base hits (7 doubles and 10 homers) and 29 RBI in June? That’s your DESIGNATED HITTER Red Sox fans.

Might I remind you, this is the American League. We (usually) don’t have to go through the bore every night of watching a pitcher trying to hit. With Ramirez, however, you may as well be a National League team. Sometimes, I’d rather see Chris Sale in the lineup than Hanley Ramirez. No matter where John Farrell has put him in the lineup, he just can’t hit. They’ve tried so hard to make Ramirez comfortable I fear he may be too comfortable to play baseball on a high level.

Hanley Ramirez’s Slump Is At The Plate And On The Field

Speaking of comfortability, I assure you there are guys playing in the field who are much more uncomfortable than Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez’s phantom shoulder injury has kept him out of playing first base, even in NL parks. Who is playing first base over him? Mitch Moreland. Yes, the Mitch Moreland who has a fractured toe and is still playing Gold Glove caliber defense. Since Ramirez refuses to gut it out and play, Moreland is forced to be a wounded duck out there. On that topic I leave you with this: how many throws do you see a first baseman make?

Luckily for Ramirez, he will never be the worst Red Sox acquisition of 2015. Pablo Sandoval may be the worst Red Sox signing ever and Rick Porcello has massively underachieved this season. This isn’t even on pace to be his worst season of production in Boston. In 2015, he had 12 doubles and 19 homers. This year, he’s on pace to smash that with a whole 14 doubles and 20 homers. That is NOT the production of a DH on a playoff team.

So I urge you Red Sox fans: pay attention to this clown. Boo him, put for sale signs on his lawn, I don’t care. Do something to convince me you aren’t a bunch of pink hats and actually know something about this team. I thought he was going to get it together, but time’s a wasting Hanley, David Ortiz isn’t gonna save you now.

Defense is a Real Problem for Hanley Ramirez

When the Red Sox signed Hanley Ramirez to a four-year, $88 million contract this past offseason, many people were surprised. Then, once the Sox chose to transition Hanley from shortstop to Fenway’s notorious left field, that surprise turned to worry. Even during his peak years, Ramirez was never great defensively, so to introduce him to a totally new, and equally challenging, position at the age of 31 was a major risk; a risk which, so far, hasn’t really paid off.

While Hanley has been a strong offensive force, his defense has been particularly dreadful, as judged by a slew of advanced metrics. In Total Fielding Runs per Year, for Hanley Ramirezinstance, Ramirez has a -27 rating, essentially meaning that, extrapolated to represent 135 games, his current defensive performance is 27 runs below average. Moreover, Hanley has thus far accumulated -6.1 Range Runs, meaning he is the second-worst fielder in all of baseball at getting to balls hit in his vicinity. And finally, in Ultimate Zone Rating, a catch-all defensive stat incorporating a player’s range, arm and tendency to commit errors, Ramirez has a -7.7 score, which, again, is the second-worst in the Major Leagues.

Basically, the stats tell us that, for all his offensive greatness (10 home runs and 22 RBI so far), Hanley is, at this point, having no more impact on the Red Sox’ fortunes than would a replacement level player. According to Baseball-Reference, his 0.9 offensive WAR is counterbalanced by his -1 defensive WAR, to create a player who is currently performing no better, or worse, than a stand-in scrub who could be signed for the Major League minimum salary of $507,500. Considering Boston has at least $88 million tied up in Hanley Ramirez, such a situation is very concerning.

Now, I’m not a total believer in WAR as the ultimate, definitive indicator of baseball performance. After all, from a fan’s perspective, you’d want to see your team sign a superstar such as Hanley Ramirez over a replacement level throwaway such as Junior Lake or Odubel Herrera. But, to a certain extent, I agree that such advanced statistics outline a general trend of a player’s impact and, in the case of Ramirez, that trend is not good. In fact, his defense, or lack thereof, is damaging his value and hurting the Red Sox considerably, to the point where you have to consider making a change.

It’s hard to imagine such a stat-inclined front office as the Red Sox’ allowing the experiment to continue without success for much longer. Whispers about a possible promotion for Rusney Castillo are already surfacing, while Jackie Bradley Jr., a defensive whiz, is back with the big club and looking for outfield playing time.

In order to move Ramirez from left field, however, he must have somewhere to go. Shortstop, his previous position, is already occupied by Xander Bogaerts, while first base and designated hitter are also filled by Mike Napoli and David Ortiz, respectively.

Hanley Ramirez

Therefore, the Red Sox may soon face a huge dilemma, in that Hanley Ramirez, their most potent power hitter, is signed through at least 2018, but perhaps lacks the skills to play adequate defense anywhere on the diamond.

Furthermore, Hanley is approaching an age where most players decline, so what defensive prowess he ever had will be further damaged, making for an uncertain, and often awkward, adventure in the years to come.

Red Sox Drop Fourth Straight; Hanley Ramirez Hurt

Hanley Ramirez hurt

Not only did the Red Sox lose for the fourth straight time last night, but even worse is the news that their best hitter, Hanley Ramirez, was hurt and left the game before he even had a chance to bat. The left fielder was injured when he slammed into a padded wall adjacent to the Green Monster while sprinting after a line drive in the first inning of a game they would eventually lose, 5-1, to the Tampa Bay Rays.

After the game, news spread that Ramirez had a sprained left shoulder, news that is not particularly encouraging given the fact that he has already had two operations on this Hanley Ramirez hurtshoulder in the past 8 years. How the team will fill this void appears to be a monumental task. Entering the game, Ramirez led the Sox in home runs with 10, RBIs with 22 and OPS at .949. His .283 batting average was fourth on the team.

Last night’s game came on the heels of being swept at home over the weekend by the New York Yankees. That marked the first time the Bronx Bombers have swept the Sox at Fenway Park since August of 2006, when they did it under Joe Torre.

Sunday night was not without the usual New York-Boston drama. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Yankees starter Adam Warren plunked Hanley Ramirez, and the Red Sox responded two innings later when Edward Mujica hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a 3-0 pitch after the center fielder had singled in each of his first four at-bats. Homeplate umpire Jeff Nelson then issued a warning to both benches as CC Sabathia waddled out of the Yankees’ third-base dugout to stare at Mujica, and the Yankees’ bullpen acted with false machismo as though they would enter the action if it escalated. (Why can’t bullpens just fight in the outfield?  Why bother running all the way to the infield?)

To provide some more depressing news, the last time the Red Sox have led in a game was in the fourth inning of Friday night’s game. Without the offense of Ramirez, they have an uphill climb in front of them.