By: Noah Wright
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Hanley Ramirez was once one of the best shortstops in the mid-2000’s and early 2010’s with The Marlins and Dodgers, and one year with The Red Sox. He was a rare combination of power and speed. To go along with that, he was also getting good contact on the ball. While he’s never officially retired yet, it’s clear that he’s coming toward the end of his career. Wherever his name does appear on The HOF ballot, he will definitely be an interesting to see what happens. With that being said, let's look at Hanley Ramirez’s Hall Of Fame Case.
To start, let's see where Hanley’s career started. Hanley originally was signed by The Boston Red Sox as an amature international free agent in 2000, and made his debut with The Sox in 2005, but only saw 2 plate appearances. Then he was dealt to the then Florida Marlins in the 2005-2006 off season in the blockbuster trade that sent him along with Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, and Anibal Sanchez in exchange for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. In his first season with The Marlins, Ramirez impressed with a .292/.353/.480 batting line with 17 home runs, 51 stolen bases, and 59 RBI’s along with 116 wRC+. His efforts were awarded with a Rookie Of The Year, and he is one of the few ROY winners to steal 50 bases.
Now that we have seen how Ramirez got to the majors, let's look at some reasons why he could make The Hall Of Fame. To start, Ramirez is one of 5 shortstops with 200+ stolen bases and home runs. He is in company with Robin Yount, and Derek Jeter. Another thing is that he has a nearly 1000 RBI’s at 909, which ranks 28th among all time shortstops. His slugging % of .487 is the third best of all time shortstops as well. Only Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra rank higher than him in slugging %. In terms of OPS, Hanley is also one of the best in that department at his position too with a .848 OPS. And ranks 6th all time, higher than Barry Larkin’s, and the all time great Cal Ripken Jr. While Ramirez didn’t get on base at an extremely high rate, Ramirez still has a .361 OBP. Ramirez has also been decent once the playoffs hit. In his 80 plate appearances in October, Ramirez has a .380/.450/.577. During his prime, Hanley was one of the best in the game. Between 2006 and 2014, Ramirez owned a .300/.373/.500 batting line, with 191 home runs, 654 RBI’s, and 261 stolen bases. Over his career, it’s hard to kind of pinpoint an exact career season. It’s arguable his 2009 season is his best, because that was his best WAR and OPS season. But out of overall offensive value, his 2008 season could be his best because that was one and only 30/30 season. You could argue that his 2013 season with The Dodgers was his best season because he reached an OPS over .1000, but he only played in 86 games. Another thing that might help Hanley is late career productivity. In 2016, Ramirez batted .286/.361/.505 with 31 home runs, and a career high 111 RBI’s after his move to first base. The following year saw his offense take another dip, but he still had 23 home runs. To sum it all up, Ramirez has a career .290/.361/.487 in 7070 career plate appearances with 269 home runs, 909 RBI’s, and 281 stolen bases. Award wise, Ramirez has appeared in 3 all-star games, has won a batting title, holds 2 Silver Slugger awards, and The 2006 Rookie Of The year.
Next, let's look at reasons why Hanley won’t make The Hall. Ramirez only has a 38 overall career WAR. That ranks just 38th among all shortstops, and 368th all time. Speaking of all-time, none of his overall numbers are super great all time. Neither his OPS, home runs, and RBI’s rank within the 150 overall. Over his career, Hanley has never necessarily been a great defender, both at shortstop, third base, first base, and especially left field. At short, Ramirez has -137 DRS. His worst defensive showing was his short lived attempt at left field where he had -19 DRS in just 92 games played. At third base, HanRam played 99 games, and had -11 DRS. First base was probably his best defensive position, for he had -6 DRS in 175 games. His career defensive WAR is also pretty unimpressive at -8 defensive WAR, with only 4 positive defensive seasons (not including his 2 game showing in 2005).
In the end, I do not see Hanley Ramirez making The Hall Of Fame. At the very least, if he has some very unlikely robust comeback, then maybe, but even then, I still think it goes from highly unlikely to an outside shot. Hanley is one of the better shortstops to play in The Majors, but overall isn’t super impressive. When everything is said and done, Hanley is a good player, but not Hall Of Fame worthy. I predict that he lasts on the ballot for more than half of the time he can stay on it.