2014 Dodgers in Review: SS Hanley Ramirez

PA AVG OBP SLG wRC+ HR WAR
MLB 512 .283 .369 .448 135 13 3.4

What happened in 2014: He played more than he did in 2013, but he wasn’t as good. Dealt with minor injuries, never got back to 2013 form, but was still the second-best offensive shortstop in the game.

This might be one of the longest season in review posts to date, as this marks the 37th article that has been tagged with Hanley Ramirez. We talked a lot about Hanley since launching in January. Sadly, it could be one of the last.

After a magical 2013 season that was limited to just 86 games, Ramriez never had the same hot streak. Sure, his triple slash and wRC+ look great (especially for a shortstop), but it somehow felt like a disappointment considering what he did last season.

Chad wrote a post on Valentine’s Day saying the time to extend Ramirez was then.

“With Clayton Kershaw now locked up, the only main cog left unattended to is Ramirez, who becomes a free agent after the season. And make no mistake, despite Hanley’s performance struggles in previous years and concerns about injuries, he remains an elite talent.

Hanley put up an amazing line in 2013, and his effectiveness has increased as he’s gotten further away from labrum surgery in 2011. His 2013 line of .345/.402/.638/1.040 and solid defense at short put him on a ~9 WAR full season pace. That performance has meant that even with his horrible 2011, average 2012, and injury-shortened 2013, he’s still projected as a plus regular over a full season by all the systems.

But that’s with the generally conservative projection systems, and I think there’s more reason to believe in his resurgence than doubt it.”

While Ramirez struggled with minor injuries throughout the campaign, no one would have been upset to see him extended in spring training (at a rate that wasn’t deemed ridiculous, mind you).

Ramirez got off to a slow start in spring training, but this got everyone really excited.

Dayum.

Ramirez would struggle at times, get hot at times, but never got onto that tear that made him one of the most feared hitters in the game. But, he was still plenty good for the Dodgers in 2014.

Chad wrote about Ramirez’s struggles against fastballs at the beginning of June. Ramirez had always handled fastballs well throughout his career, but he was worth -5.0 runs against them on June 1. He finished the season at -1.2, which is just below-average. Not good, but not horrible. He thrived against curveballs (9.4). If you need evidence to back this up, here you go.

Oh my. As Daniel wrote at the time, it was Ramirez’s first career walk-off home run. It was probably also the pinnacle of his season. From that point on (Aug. 2), Ramirez hit well (.302 AVG), got on base (.367 OBP) but his power virtually disappeared (.405 SLG). He had just 10 extra base hits in his last 34 games (nine doubles, one home run). He would collect six hits in the National League Division Series, but that was about it.

Ramirez only had one disabled list stint in 2014 with the Dodgers (August, oblique strain), but it seemed like more than that. The laundry list of nagging injuries is probably what did it. And he was still able to play 128 games. Now, 79 percent of games played isn’t an accomplishment for a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, but it is for Ramirez.

Ramirez is one of the best shortstops the Dodgers have ever had, despite his only being with the team for 2 1/2 seasons. He’s definitely the best hitter at the position, and probably the worst defender. In 2014, Ramirez was the second-worst defender at shortstop in the majors, ahead of Yunel Escobar in UZR/150 (-5.5 to -11.0) and sixth-worst in defensive runs saved (-9). The numbers don’t really do him justice, though. He was probably the worst — and pretty much has been his entire career. Some fans would even go as far as to vilify him for costing Clayton Kershaw a perfect game.

The errant throw didn’t cost the Dodgers a win, but it was a play even an average shortstop would make 95 times out of 100. Credit Corey Dickerson for busting it down the line. Mike summed it up well at the time.

“And yeah, it’s going to be tough to talk about this game without noting Hanley Ramirez‘ brutal throwing error in the seventh inning that turned this from a perfect game into a no-hitter, and wondering about whether he should have already been out in an 8-0 game. (Yes. Obviously.) But don’t dwell on that. It has nothing to do with how wonderful Kershaw was; besides, minutes later, Rojas took a hit away by making a play he had no business making.”

The Dodgers are sure to upgrade, defensively, at shortstop with Ramirez’s departure to Boston. It just remains to be seen how they expect to replace his offensive production, which was well above-average for the position. No matter how bad he is on defense, his offense will be sorely missed. Corey Seager will be here soon, but it’ll take even longer for him to establish himself as a big league threat at the plate — and there’s no guarantee he’ll ever be as good as Ramirez was at the plate for the Dodgers.

2015 status: Signed a 4-year, $88 million deal with the Red Sox to play left field. Good luck with the “playing left field” part, but he will absolutely mash in Fenway Park. The Dodgers will get a compensatory draft pick in June’s draft.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.