After a disappointing 2017 campaign for the Boston Red Sox, Hanley Ramirez is due for a bounce back year. His preparation in the offseason is already showing.
In 2017, the Boston Red Sox won the AL East and fans should have been happy. After all, a team that wins 93 games and makes the playoffs should be regarded as a success.
But for the Red Sox, the entire organization could only look at this past season as a failure.
In a lineup where just about everyone had a down year, Hanley Ramirez stood out the most. At times, Hanley looked like he simply did not want to play. He would go up to bat, swing three times, and then go sit back down.
It did not help that Hanley only played 18 games in the field last season. While Mitch Moreland played first base, he sat on the bench doing nothing. For David Ortiz, that works. For Hanley Ramirez, not so much.
Still, all season, everyone kept saying, “If Hanley gets hot, the Red Sox might have something here”. Or when Hanley would have a good game, we would hear, “Here comes Hanley! He’s getting hot!”. The fans and the media knew that the .290-30 HR-110 RBI hitter from just one year before was still there.
He never arrived. Instead, Ramirez slashed .242/.320/.429, hit 23 HR, and had just 62 RBI. Compared to a career average of .295/.366/.495, 22 HR, and 74 RBI, it looked like Hanley was on the wrong side of the slope.
An offseason for the ages
However, Hanley Ramirez had the best offseason of his life in 2018. First, he underwent shoulder surgery right after the season ended. Then, just a couple weeks ago, it was reported that Hanley is on Tom Brady’s TB12 diet. Now, in Spring Training, he looks as healthy as ever.
At this point, the lazy DH from last season and the guy who showed up to Spring Training look like completely different people.
Look at this side-by-side.
You know what, I think that Tom Brady fella is on to something. Hanley looks 30 pounds lighter. I guess when you switch from eating nothing but tacos and rice the pounds start to fall off.
What should we expect from Hanley?
I know that every Boston Red Sox fan is rooting for Hanley Ramirez and would like nothing better than to see him return to his former self. The training and dieting is a great start, but now its time to see the preparation pay off.
With the recent signing of J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox lineup will look something like this:
Mookie Betts RF- Eduardo Nunez 2B- Andrew Benintendi LF- J.D. Martinez DH- Hanley Ramirez 1B- Rafael Devers 3B- Xander Bogaerts SS- Jackie Bradley Jr. CF- Christian Vazquez C
If Hanley is really going to make a comeback this year, he has to show it right away. With an improved lineup, Hanley has to come through early batting at the pivotal five spot in the lineup.
Mitch Moreland could easily take his spot if he has a rough April. The Red Sox could even move Martinez to the outfield, Moreland to first, and Nunez to DH once Dustin Pedroia comes back from an injury. The possibilities are really endless if Hanley gets off to a bad start.
With all that said, I believe in Hanley Ramirez this season. Skinny Han-Ram is here to stay and ready for a big 2018. Get ready, Hanley and the Boston Red Sox are here to win.