There must be something in the water
It’s a simple question – why is Hanley Ramirez batting third? Yet, there doesn’t seem to be a simple answer, or even a well-thought-out answer at that.
Hanley Ramirez, last year’s rookie of the year and (as first posted here) a possible MVP candidate has been shifted from the top of the order to the 3 spot. He has never hit at that position in the majors, and has been a leadoff hitter for practically all of his young professional career.
He is batting .272 with 4 homers and 10 RBI since May 15th in the third slot while he was batting .343 with 4 homers and 7 RBI leading off. His on-base percentage was the best in MLB at .426 but it has now dipped to .382.
Is it any wonder that the Marlins run production has seemed to be dipping?
This has to be one of the most boneheaded moves by Fredi “Captain Obvious” Gonzalez. What is scary to ponder is that it probably wasn’t Right Said Fredi who made the call on this move. It is mind boggling.
Why do the Marlins decide that now they want to experiment with a talent like Hanley Ramirez? His highest value is in the leadoff spot, where he is comfortable and where he can excel. To force him to adjust in midseason to an unfamiliar role is just plain ridiculous and stupid. Why not ask Barry Bonds to leadoff – so he can get more at bats? Dumb.
What makes this move even more mind boggling is the fact that the Marlins have options that can hit third – Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, even Aaron Boone. Why push Ramirez into the role when the Marlins are getting pretty good production at that spot already(Willingham is 9th in the NL with 39 RBIs and is batting .377 with runners in scoring position). Why try and take a leadoff hitter and make him a run producer when you have a one-two punch in Willingham and Cabrera? Or why not try and put a guy like Hermida – who is being developed as a run-producing hitter – at the third spot?
None of it makes sense.
The Marlins are sacrificing the short term and the long term by putting Hanley Ramirez into the third spot in the order. Short term because they are forcing him to adjust to an entirely new position in the order, and long term because they are actually undermining his value.
The Marlins have some very good #3 options. This isn’t to say that Ramirez can’t be successful, just to say that there is no reason to try this experiment. The Marlins are not banged up enough to warrant this jump.
It’s just stupid, no matter how you characterize it.