Last year and headed into this year, there were two guys receiving quite a bit of hate from Boston Red Sox fans: Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.
Dubbed the “gold bust twins” the two were criticized last year for their poor defense and underwhelming bats. Forget about Sandoval for a minute — because he was likely injured that whole time — and think about Hanley Ramirez. He has proved just about everyone wrong this year.
After the train wreck left field experiment — which seemed idiotic from the start since he had never played the outfield in his life — a lot of people started doubting Hanley. They doubted his bat, they doubted his work ethic and they doubted his ability to play first base. Uh, wrong, wrong and wrong. Y’all a bunch of saps if you think that stuff. This dude is good. Real good.
On Sept. 15, he blasted a walk-off homer. And he’s been really hot at the plate. Through 500 at-bats, he had hit .284 with 25 homers and an .848 OPS. Defensively, too, he has been a major asset — one of the better fielding first basemen in baseball. Yeah…
Hanley has shown off 30 home run power potential with the Red Sox. He’s hit well in the ten games he’s DHed (.325 with a .986 OPS in 10 games). Could he be David Ortiz’ successor? Are you nuts? He’s actually good at first base. Hanley Ramirez has to be the Red Sox first baseman of the future — and Edwin Encarnacion could be their DH. He could be the Red Sox new love.
It makes a tough situation at third base again, but here’s a solid prediction of how it all goes down: Yoan Moncada isn’t big league ready yet and 2017 could be Pablo Sandoval’s big redemption year. Travis Shaw is kind of versatile and he’s a left-handed power bat (solid bench option) — or a trade piece.