If you watched zero Red Sox baseball in 2016 and just looked at the stat line for Hanley Ramirez you would think he has had a very strong campaign, and he has. He’s hitting .286 with 26 HRs and 102 RBIs and as of late, has been a big contributor in the middle of the Red Sox lineup. The piece you would be missing are the stretches of time when Hanley is basically non-existent. His rollercoaster season has seen him go through massive power droughts followed by impressive and unreal spans filled with game-changing hits. Thankfully for the Red Sox, he’s hot when they need him the most.
In 14 games in September, Hanley has 7 HRs, 18 RBIs and is hitting .308. He has been a catalyst for the offense and is looking like a younger version of himself at times. His strength and power is impressive to watch when he is feeling good and there are very few players in baseball that give the ball a ride like Hanley. It’s as if his bat explodes on the ball when he makes contact, leading to some of the sharpest line-drives you’ll see anywhere. When he is fully engaged and gets hot, it’s fun to watch, even at 1st base.
On the flip side, when he gets into funks or his attitude shifts, it can be painful to watch. It’s been more contained this year, but like Mike Napoli in his Red Sox days, when it’s going good, it’s must watch TV, but when it’s bad, it’s ugly. He Ks significantly less than Napoli, but is equally forgettable when not feeling it. Way too many swings and misses and balls hit with not much mustard.
Given his history, this stretch is likely not terribly long-lived, but if it helps the Red Sox secure a playoff spot, then fans in Boston will have nothing to complain about. Compared to last season’s mess, Hanley has made an unreal comeback in 2016. If the streak turns out to be more sustainable for the final few weeks and into October, watch out for the Red Sox this postseason.