After being signed to a four-year, $88 million deal in November of 2014, Hanley Ramirez was nothing but a disappointment to Red Sox fans in the 2015 season. He was a disaster in left field and his power numbers took a massive dive.
When it was announced that he would be making the switch to first base in 2016, most of Red Sox Nation didn’t anticipate a smooth transition.
Well not only has Hanley held his own at first, he’s been absolutely raking at the plate. With 106 RBI’s so far, he’s already doubled his total of 53 last season. His .294 average is 45 points higher than last year’s .249 and his 28 home runs are nine more than last year’s 19.
The Red Sox’ lineup is loaded with great hitters, and Hanley has just been another guy on that list. Lately, however, he’s been the guy. The Sox finished up a huge four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday, right as New York was starting to look like they might creep into the playoffs.
That was until they came to Boston and Hanley Ramirez greeted them with nine hits in 16 at-bats including four home runs and nine RBI’s. Who knows how the series would have played out without his red-hot bat in the lineup, but thanks to his contributions it was an easy sweep.
First there was the best moment of the season thus far. This walk-off three-run homer on Thursday that capped off a five-run ninth inning. The first walk-off home run by a Red Sox player since Mike Napoli in 2014:
The next night, Hanley started off by driving in Mookie Betts with a single up the middle to put the Sox up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. His next at-bat? A solo homer to extend the lead to 3-0:
The Sox’ 6-5 win over the Yankees on Saturday was the one game in the series in which we didn’t see a dinger from Hanley, but he was still locked in at the plate going 3-for-4 on the day.
On Sunday night at Fenway, the Red Sox essentially ended the Yankees’ season by finishing off the four game sweep. And what did all four of these games have in common? They were close, and they had Hanley Ramirez’s fingerprints all over them.
Hanley capped off his incredible series with a 3-for-4 performance that included two home runs. This solo shot in the bottom of the seventh put the Sox up 5-4 and would be the eventual game winner:
So I think we all owe this guy an apology for doubting him as soon as Spring Training started. The Red Sox are currently playing their most important games of the year and Hanley is carrying them into October on his back.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour