Boston Red Sox: A healthy Hanley Ramirez will be huge in 2018

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Hanley Ramirez
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Hanley Ramirez /

The Boston Red Sox had a disappointing end to their 2017 season, but a rejuvenated and healthy Hanley Ramirez could be the difference in 2018.

Hanley Ramirez underwent shoulder surgery earlier this offseason, and now the Boston Red Sox slugger is fully healthy for the 2018 campaign.

Ramirez now says he feels better than he has in a long time, and that should bode well for the Red Sox.

He has seen a dip in games played while in Boston due to injuries and soreness, but that shouldn’t be an issue next year.

"“I’ve got no pain, no nothing. I’m ready to go. I went to [Dr. James] Andrews and he decided to do [the surgery]. Just clean it a little bit. I can feel the difference right away. Since I left the surgery room — it wasn’t anything major — I felt a difference right away.”"

The production from Hanley offensively has been, for the most part, on par with his career numbers. He isn’t going to steal a ton of bases anymore, but he is still considered a great power hitter. Boston, I’m sure, would like to see him improve his RBI numbers in 2018, and if he can stay healthy, that shouldn’t be tough.

Here’s a look at how Ramirez has performed at the plate throughout his major league career. Boston will hope that with health, comes improved vision at the plate. Ramirez should draw a few more walks and should be able to raise his batting average quite significantly going forward.

  • Average (Per 162) Marlins Season: .306 BA, .886 OPS, 195 H, 26 HR, 83 RBI, 71 BB
  • Average (Per 162) Dodgers Season: .308 BA, .907 OPS, 176 H, 25 HR, 97 RBI, 63 BB
  • Average (Per 162) Red Sox Season: .261 BA, .785 OPS, 159 H, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 56 BB

Even with 23 home runs in 2017, Hanley Ramirez had an overall down season. He hit just .242 and had just 62 RBI on the year. Boston thinks that Ramirez could be a guy that hits 25 homers but drives in 90+ runs. Hanley played in only 133 games last season. If he appears in 145 or more in 2018 the Red Sox would be very happy. Health, of course, will be a huge factor in whether Ramirez is on the field. It’s not the only one though.

It remains unclear what moves the Red Sox will make this offseason to add to their lineup. Mitch Moreland looks like he will be on the move, and Eric Hosmer is an option for Boston to replace him. As is Carlos Santana. If a new first baseman is not brought in though, Ramirez could find himself back on the field. Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora seem to think it would be fine to have Ramirez back at first.

"More from Boston Red Sox3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red SoxMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts ReturnRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive WinMookie Betts Has Humble Outlook on Returning to FenwayAlex Cora Reveals What He Said to Cause NSFW Response from Justin Verlander“The doctor feels he will be able to do that. As a matter of fact, when [manager] Alex [Cora] was here yesterday, we had a conversation about that topic. Alex feels that [Ramirez will] be able to play first base for us. We can count on him to play first base for us like he did in 2016.”"

In 2016, Ramirez played 133 games at first base. He was a solid player defensively, with just 39 errors and a .996 fielding percentage. The league average for a first baseman that year was .994, so Ramirez was right where he should be.

While it’s understood around Boston that Ramirez prefers to DH, he isn’t causing a stir at all when the first base question comes up.

"“I don’t control that. That’s [the team’s] decision. I’ll be ready for whatever. I am an employee of the organization. I’m happy to be there. I think that’s the beautiful thing about playing for the Boston Red Sox; they’re always thinking about improving the team.”"

Next: Could the Red Sox trade for Jose Abreu?

The Boston Red Sox will likely add a new player at some point this season, and whether it’s an outfielder or a first baseman, it seems like Hanley will be ready to go. This squad should compete for a World Series title in 2018, and Ramirez is going to be a huge piece of the puzzle. Red Sox Nation is counting on his production, and it will be exciting to see what a fully-healthy Hanley can do in Fenway Park.