Who is your X-Factor on this year’s Boston Red Sox? You know, the guy who could really put this team over the top if he plays to his full capacity. I know who I’m taking: Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez clearly had a down year last year (.242, 23 HRs, .750 OPS as a DH), after blasting 30 home runs the year before (with a .286 average and .866 OPS).
Now, there are some reasons to really feel good about Ramirez--if you take him for his word. He told reporters he was legit swinging with one arm last year and was still able to do that, so he sees no reason why he can’t put up 30 bombs this year now that he’s healthy.
Alex Cora even seems to be buying into this; he told reporters he sees Hanley as a No. 3 hitter--which means he's probably going to start at first base over Mitch Moreland.
Remember, there was the conspiracy last year that he was faking the shoulder injury just so he could DH. But the Red Sox have a DH this year, so Hanley will have to play first base if he wants to play. You need a good shoulder to play (and I honestly believe he had a bad shoulder last year because he was a good first baseman the year before and didn’t look so good last year).
Ramirez, who looks a little slimmer in the face, also told reporters he’s on the TB12 diet now. Couldn’t help but find that one funny because I have no idea if he’s serious or not. He DID lose weight though, so it’s definitely possible. I just figured he ate some strawberries along the way.
Remember, Hanley has some incentive to perform this season. He needs 497 plate appearances this season for his $22 million vesting option for 2019 to kick in. And let’s be honest, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he’ll $22 million in 2019 if he’s a free agent.
So yeah. Healthy. Money on the line. There’s a chance he gives this team a mega lift this season.