Boston Red Sox: Hanley Ramirez poised for monster 2nd-half

TORONTO, ON - JULY 2: Hanley Ramirez
TORONTO, ON - JULY 2: Hanley Ramirez /

Entering 2017, Boston Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez was expected to be counted on to fill a big void at designated hitter. Will he rebound in the second-half? Or will we see a repeat of his 2017 first-half struggles?

The offense of the 2017 Boston Red Sox has had its struggles while buoyed by a collection of young stars.

Getting set to begin the post all-star break portion of the season, they could really use the return to form of a seasoned veteran.

Hanley Ramirez, it’s time to heed the call.

A mostly down first-half of the season saw Ramirez revert to the 2015 version of his Boston self. The injuries haven’t been quite as nagging–but still there–and have prevented Ramirez from playing the field. One wonders if the lack of playing first base and continual involvement has slowed his production.

BOSTON, MA – JUNE 29: Hanley Ramirez
BOSTON, MA – JUNE 29: Hanley Ramirez /

On the outside looking in, that is one explanation to his drop-off this season.

I don’t think anyone expected Ramirez to step in and match the numbers David Ortiz put up last season. Still, he was being counted on to provide protection in the lineup and put up numbers similar to last season’s 30 home runs, 111 RBI’s, and .286 batting average.

He’s close to on pace for home runs (currently 13) but runs batted in are way down (34). And that’s barely getting into his .261 batting average.

Despite it all, Ramirez has shown signs of coming to life in recent weeks.

The start of a scorching July

Sitting out three games in late June has seemed to do wonders for Ramirez.

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He has six multi-hit games in his last ten games, raising his average 20 points (up from .241).

Ramirez is hitting .359 in July with an OPS of .954. And against left-handed pitchers, Ramirez is now hitting .250 on the season. (Six for his last nine.)

The sample size is small, but Ramirez appears to be on track to live up to expectations heaped upon him.

With Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis, Ramirez may not step into the first base position the rest of the season. If Moreland can start hitting like he was earlier this season, it won’t matter where Ramirez plays as long he’s hitting as well.

Ramirez warming up coincided with the Red Sox getting hot at the plate. A hot-hitting lineup, from top to bottom, keeps the pitchers from working around anyone. And a lot of that starts with the way Ramirez is hitting.

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The A.L. East looks like it will be a three-way race as the summer wears on. And Ramirez is hitting well against division opponents in 2017. He has a .285 average with seven home runs and 16 runs batted in.

Judging by the last few weeks, Ramirez has finally woken up in 2017, making the him and the Boston Red Sox poised for greater things as the season wears on.