Posts Tagged ‘Hanley Ramirez’

The Boys from Boston will hit in 2015.  Will they pitch is the question?

Ramble:  While the off-season additions to the offense are to be applauded (though the money spent was ridiculous), the bats will center around David Ortiz.  If Papi is healthy, thus productive, the Red Sox thrive.  Sandoval, Ramirez, Pedroia, Betts, Bogaerts and Napoli will prosper with Ortiz in the middle who will create a sizable secondary effect for Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.  Sandoval and Ramirez in Fenway could post better numbers than ever before, especially Sandoval.  Napoli, who seemed to just miss lofting that deep fly ball over the Monster countless times in 2014, will have a better than average year as he ends his contract with Boston (and, no, Ben better not re-sign him).  Chili Davis as the hitting coach should spur on the boys through thick, thin and long road trips.  However, no media relationship advice will be offered.

Outfield:   Jackie Bradley Jr had his chance in 2014, but t’was not to be.  His behavior issues in Pawtucket, post-Boston, should earn him an opportunity elsewhere.  Thus, Mookie Betts.  Mookie in center is a good fit.  He covers ground, and Lord knows he will need to with Hanley Ramirez attempting to absorb a quick learning curve in left.  As opposed to Bradley Jr., Mookie was a quick study at the plate.  Shane Victorino in right is not definite.  Shane, along with Allen Craig, are the two veterans without a guaranteed position.  If Victorino hits, he plays.  If he struggles, he’s traded, and traded quickly.  The mystery man is Rusney Castillo.  Victorino stands in the way of required at bats.  Rusney needs to play.  And, as always (well at least the last few years), Daniel Nava stands in the shadows waiting for somebody to ask him to dance.

Infield:  Set.  Naps, Pedrioa, Sandoval and Bogaerts.  Napoli has developed into an above average first baseman.  Dustin is the ultimate dirt dog.  Xander needs to continue to master the small things that make a great shortstop (moving him to third is ill advised).  Pablo, with little range, plays a smart hot spot, less the occasional dirt flop as the ball scoots into left.  Brock Holt brings value at a great price.

Catching:  Ryan Lavarnway went from heir apparent to first baseman/dh suspect for untold reasons.  Christian Vasquez, without David Ross, has a lot to learn in a short time.  The Blake Swihart succession talk must stop.  Blake needs at least one more year riding buses, maybe two.  Ryan Hanigan, given half a chance, may well give Vasquez a challenge for playing time.  Who, oh who, will gather the starting pitching’s confidence?

DH:  Ortiz in the batter’s box is always a sight to behold.  Think Santa down the chimney.  Never gets old.  As rest is required, look for Allen Craig, Napoli and possibly Castillo (get those at-bats)  to find Sunday time as the designated hitter.

Starting Pitching:  Otherwise known as What Makes 2015 A Boom Or Bust.  Buchholz is the number one starter.  When reading the Globe, I marvel at the inability (refusal?) to acknowledge that Clay is the number one guy.  Who else?  The guy who listens to the radio via headset a few rows from the protective netting?  In no particular order or until John Farrell and Juan Nieves are ready to say:  Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Brandon Workman will form the two-five spots.  A deep group from which to choose.

Relief Corps:  Perhaps Koji Uehara closes.  Perhaps implies perhaps not.  Alexi Ogando was a quality signing.  Granted, he struggled in 2014 with Texas, but the numbers prior bring hope.  Craig Breslow is testament to why lefty pitchers are reluctant to retire.  Nice to be wanted.  With Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross Jr, Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree the bullpen will be a strong point through the never ending test of 162 games.

AAA/AA Help:  Blake Swihart (c), Sean Coyle (inf), Derrick Gibson (of), Henry Ramos (of), Henry Owens (starter), Brian Johnson (starter), Eduardo Rodriguez (starter), Miguel Celestino (relief).

Prediction:  First in the A.L. East, A.L. Champion, World Series Champion.

The Sox spend a lot of money on two guys.  Never a good sign.  One enjoys too much food.  The other seems tender, nay, delicate.

The idea of trading Xander Bogaerts is idiotic and should be banished from Cherington’s skull.  The idea of trading Middlebrooks is the classic foregone conclusion.  Will’s inability to hit September pitching was his exit from Fenway, not the signing of Sandoval.  If Will could not hit the liberal sprinkling of AAA pitching auditioning during the final month of the year, Will simply cannot hit at the major league level.  For that reason, I begrudgingly accept the arrival of Panda at third.

Panda at third brings a somewhat marginal fielding percentage of .967.  Meh.  Do know that Mr. Sandoval has logged 63 games at first with a much more impressive .991 catch it and throw it percentage.  Which leads me to wonder if Napoli will not join the legion of trade rumor.  Pablo’s bat should achieve full bloom in Fenway.  He has a seven-year average of 36 doubles, 20/86 and .294/.346.  Granted, his former home field was spacious and deep, but as with most power righties, the possibilities of Fenway are forever intriguing.  Since 2009, Pablo has played in excess of 150 games three seasons (’09, ’10 and ’14), thus I want to believe that the Sox will receive their money’s worth regarding Pablo appearing at work.  Finally, Mr. Sandoval’s post-season production of .344/.389 and 6 dingers with 20 rbi should never be far from consideration.

Now for Hanley Ramirez.

Even though I opened with a pinch about his “health”, Hanley has an above average record of playing nine innings. From ’06 to ’09 he was north of 150 games.  In ’12 he played in 157.  Last year featured a return close to normal (128 games compared to 86 the year before and 92 in 2011, thus the reputation as to tenderness).  His error total for a shortstop is noteworthy.  The last four seasons have featured 14, 15, 13 and 16 kicks which is nowhere near disappointing for a starting middle infielder.  Then we consider his bat:  162 games (hold that thought) will yield 40 doubles, 25/87 and .300/.373.  Also include 35 steals.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Regarding all the rumor of positions to play, exiting Red Sox, arriving Red Sox and the lot, these two gentlemen create options galore for Ben (and Larry, who forever lurks in the shadow of decision).  Hanley played 90 games at third base in 2012.  As mentioned above, Pablo is familiar with first base (though I would rather Ryan Lavarnway become full-time familiar with first base in Fenway).  Is 2015 Ortiz’s final year?  If so, Pablo fills (pun intended) the dh spot rather nicely.  Xander should be allowed to continue his journey as the Red Sox starting shortstop.  His potential is considerable.  I’d rather witness Pablo wobble around third for the 2015 season and Hanley in left than endure the bad decision of Xander traded to whomever.  Other than Mookie Betts, the outfield is full of possibility.  Those who scoff at the idea of trading Victorino may want to reconsider the scoff.  Nava proves year after year, he can play, plus at a bargain.  Bradley, Junior finishing in a temperamental huff in Pawtucket gives Ben pause as to Jackie’s time in uniform.  Perhaps a change of scenery would serve Jackie well.  Mookie is the better ball player.  Cespedes seemed eager to speak of other options at the end of 2014.  If his transaction leads to quality starting pitching, transact as soon as possible.  Where does Allen Craig fit?  First?  Left?  Right?  For another team?  If most of these meanderings become truth, Henry Ramos (AA), Derrik Gibson (AA) and Peter Hissey (AA) are a couple of years away to fill any void 2016 forward.  Fear not for the outfield.