In 2010, Hanley Ramirez hit 21 HRs, stole 32 bases and posted a .300/.378/.475 slash line. In March/April of last year, he hit just two HRs and posted a .279/.386/.395 line.
Clearly the sky was falling. Well, if that were the case, the whole universe must be falling in 2011, as Hanley is off to a .211/.317/.268 start.
I’ve been shocked by the sheer number of people concerned over 80 plate appearances. Sure, his line drive rate is down a tad, his ground ball rate is up a decent amount (a trend amongst MLB shortstops), his swigging strike percentage is down and his contact rate is down 5% or so from last year. However, he’s also been stuck with a .254 BABip when it is usually around .330.
Now, some of that is due to a decline in his batted ball rates but also to the fact that none of his fly balls have left the yard. Oh, and if you’re worried about his swinging and missing, well, it’s lower than his best year (2009).
The 2009 version of Hanley (with a .379 BABip) isn’t walking through that door, that’s clear. However, I don’t see how he’ll be really worse than last year. Sure, it might be harder for him to reach .300, but .290+ is a given. He has always posted sublime OBPs, so nothing short of .375 should be expected. With that great OBP, 30+ steals are a distinct possibility.
If you’re still worried, average his last three years and 2011, you get: .310/.393/.510 with 20 HRs and 24 SBs. Then ask the guys in your league who own Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter what they would do for a line like that. I imagine they’d offer some dirty things involving their cute sister.
So, please don’t go dealing him for Starlin Castro.