Monday, July 18, 2011

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramírez (born December 23, 1983 in Samaná, Dominican Republic) is a shortstop in Major League Baseball for the Florida Marlins. Ramírez was named 2006 NL Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 2009, Ramírez won the NL batting title and is a three-time All-Star starter. Additionally, Ramirez finished runner-up in the 2010 Home Run Derby.Ramírez signed with the Boston Red Sox as an International Free Agent in July 2000. He was discovered by scouts and was considered the top prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in 2005 together with Aníbal Sánchez for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota. During Spring Training in 2006, Ramírez was impressive enough to earn the starting shortstop job for the Marlins over another candidate, shortstop Robert Andino. Ramírez led all MLB rookies with 185 hits, 119 runs, 11 triples and 51 SBs. He hit 7 leadoff home runs, the most in team history for a season and career. Ramírez's 46 doubles in the 2006 season is the all-time NL record for a shortstop age 22 or younger. He is the first NL rookie to post 110-plus runs and 50-plus stolen bases. He became the fifth big-league player since 1900 to hit 45-plus doubles and have 50-plus stolen bases, joining Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Lou Brock. He finished the spectacular season with the Rookie of the Year Award. Because he didn’t accumulate 130 at bats in the majors or spend 45 days on the Red Sox’ MLB roster he was eligible for the award. Ramírez picked up where he left off during his sophomore season. The ever improving young star, who referred to Ryan Howard when asked about the sophomore jinx in baseball, was hitting .331 with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs to go along with 27 steals at the 2007 All Star break. Despite his great numbers, he was left off the All-Star roster behind starter Jose Reyes and reserve J.J. Hardy, not to the surprise of many writers.In a game versus the Cincinnati Reds on July 22, 2007 Ramírez overextended his shoulder when he tried to hit a pitch on the lower outside corner off right-hander Bronson Arroyo. He was helped off the field and was determined to have suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. Ramírez has had a history of problems with the shoulder. In the 2006 season, he missed 5 games for a similar problem after swinging at a pitch. In December of '06 he fell awkwardly on the shoulder while playing Winter League ball in the Dominican Republic.

Entering the 2008 season, Ramírez was now looked at as the face of the franchise after the Marlins traded All-Stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern, and Burke Badenhop. Ramírez has contributed well in the Marlins fast start, earning a spot as the starting Shortstop for the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career. In addition, Ramírez agreed to a six-year, $70 million extension, by far making it the richest contract in Marlin history and furthermore making him the face of the franchise through the new stadium in 2012. has reported that Ramírez will get $23.5 million in his arbitration years of 2009 through 2011, $15 million in 2012, $15.5 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014. There is not a no trade clause. Ramírez was named NL Player of the Month in June. He had been batting .298 with six doubles, a triple and ten home runs. He led the NL in three categories: home runs, runs scored and total bases. It was speculated that he could have secured a place in the rare 40-40 club achieved by four others and latest by Alfonso Soriano in 2006; he ended the season with 33 home runs and 35 stolen bases. In July, Ramírez was selected to his first All-Star at Yankee Stadium, voted in by the fans as the National League's starting shortstop. He was 2-for-3 with two singles and a run in the 2008 All-Star Game. Ramírez hit his 30th home run of the season on September 13 and joined Preston Wilson in 2000 as the only Marlins to become members of the 30-30 club. On February 24, 2009, the Miami Herald reported that Ramírez would be moving from the leadoff spot to the 3rd spot in the lineup. Ramírez played in the World Baseball Classic for his native Dominican Republic. During the April 6, 2009 regular season opener against the Washington Nationals, Ramírez hit his first career grand-slam off of Washington reliever Steven Shell. On July 5, 2009, Ramírez was the NL starting shortstop for the 2009 All Star Game. On September 6, against the Nationals, Ramírez hit his 100th home run of his MLB career, becoming the 4th quickest shortstop in terms of games played to reach that milestone (Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Ernie Banks). With a Batting Average of .342, Ramírez won his first batting title. Ramírez recorded 106 RBI (6th in NL), stole 27 bases (5th in NL), and scored 101 times (8th in NL). He won the Silver Slugger award at shortstop, and came in second to Albert Pujols for NL MVP.

Ramírez hit his first home run of the 2010 season on April 8 off of John Maine. In the month of April, Ramírez batted .279 with 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, 2 steals and 11 runs scored. On May 17 in a home game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ramírez fouled a ball off his ankle in his first at-bat. He looked as if he was in some pain but remained in the game. He then grounded into a double play to end the inning as he slowly ran to first base. The next inning, with runners on first and second, a bloop shot was sent into shallow left field. Ramírez ran to catch it. He did not, and when it hit the ground, Ramírez inadvertently kicked it into the left-field corner. Ramírez then jogged all the way to the corner as Diamondbacks rounded the bases. Two of the three runners would end up scoring with the other ending up on third. Then-manager of the Marlins Fredi González removed Ramírez from the game, and a war of words led to Ramírez being benched for the next game. In his first game back against the St. Louis Cardinals, Ramírez went 3–5 with an RBI. About a month later, Fredi Gonzalez was relieved of his duties. In the month of May, Ramírez finished batting .308 with 6 home runs, 19 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, and 17 runs scored. On June 6, manager Fredi González decided to shake up the Marlins' batting order. Ramírez was placed in the leadoff spot of the batting order for the first time since 2008. He finished 0–2 but also drew three walks in the game. He was moved back to the three hole the day after. In June, Ramírez batted .296 with 4 home runs, 25 RBIs, 9 steals and 17 runs. Ramírez was voted in as a starter for the All Star game for the third year in a row. He was also chosen to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby for the first time in his career. In the Derby, he came in second place to Boston's David Ortiz. Ramírez, moving to the leadoff spot when Chris Coghlan was injured, struggled in July, hitting .242 with 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 6 steals and 12 runs scored. Ramírez hit his 25th career leadoff home run and his first career walk-off hit on August 7 against the Cardinals. He came up to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning with a man on first base hit a walk-off double to right-center field to end the Marlins' five game losing streak. Ramírez was hot all throughout August, hitting .359 (3rd in NL) with 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, 7 steals and 25 runs (2nd in NL). On September 15 in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Ramírez aggravated an injury in his elbow he sustained earlier in the season while swinging. He attempted to come back and play a week later, but after one game, he was still in pain and shut down for the rest of the season. He finished 2010 with a .300 batting average, 21 home runs, 76 RBIs, 32 steals and 92 runs scored. Ramirez has performed well under his usual standards in 2011. By June 20, Ramirez was hitting just .200 with only 4 home runs and 17 RBIs. However, Hanley raised his stats up to .243 with 8 home runs and 37 RBIs by July 9th. People say that the coming of 80 year old interm manager Jack McKeon (who served as the Marlins manager from 2003-2005 and led them to a World Series victory in 2003) helped Ramirez improve his stats. For the first time in his career, Ramirez hitting cleanup.

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