In many ways, the questions about Hanley Ramirez’s defense have obscured his terrible offensive performance of the second half. Since the All-Star break, he’s hitting .200 with a .219 OBP and .229 slugging mark, a .448 OPS that ranks 210th among 215 players in the big leagues with at least 50 second-half plate appearances.
He has two walks and 15 strikeouts in that time, with roughly one-third of his plate appearances (24 of 73) having lasted one or two pitches. That’s aggressive approach isn’t inherently a bad thing – Ramirez frequently ambushed first pitches for homers in the first half – but as the season has progressed, that first-pitch attack has been less selective and resulted in diminishing returns (he’s 6-for-24 with two doubles on first pitches since the break), and he’s now up to 19 straight games without a homer.
Overall, Ramirez’s offensive numbers – which seemingly had a chance to explode with his move to the AL East – have instead plummeted either to or near career lows. He’s hitting .260 (down from .297 in his career) with a career-low .301 OBP (career mark: .368) and .445 slugging mark (down from .496 in his career). The net result? In combination with his defense, Ramirez’s offensive struggles peg him as having a negative value in Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement, his -1.0 WAR ranking 159th in the big leagues – dead last among qualifying position players.
Chili Davis tells Jason Mastrodonato that Ramirez can swing with the power of two men – and that that’s not always a good thing. The Red Sox hitting coach explains how he believes Ramirez can improve his approach, while also acknowledging that his efforts to communicate with the slugger are a work-in-progress.
“The communication is building,” Davis said. “It’s not like being around the younger guys, who I approach them a lot.” … With Ramirez, “it’s going in a very positive direction,” Davis said. “Hopefully it gets there and we can just talk about anything, and he has a personality that he’s not going to let too many people in. I don’t think he’s ever had that kind of personality.”