Ah, a familiar name lands on the #2 spot. For the third time in our top ten seasons list for the decade, Hanley Ramirez shows up once again, this time for his accomplishments in the most recent 2009 season. Let’s take a retrospective look.
Hanley Ramirez (2009)
Each of the last few seasons, Ramirez has been a dominant offensive player. Ramirez had always been a fantasy favorite, but the 2009 season was the first in which Ramirez received significant MVP consideration. Such consideration was rightly deserved. Ramirez was a monster offensively once again, batting .342/.410/.543, good for an impressive .410 wOBA. Ramirez knocked in 197 hits, including a career-high 130 singles, which supported his crazy-high .342 average. Ramirez’ .379 BABIP was certainly fluky high, even for Ramirez’ speed, but Marlins fans will take any production we can get.
It wasn’t as if Ramirez’ value came entirely from slap hitting either. He put up a .199 adjusted ISO, the lowest since his rookie season, but an excellent display of power nonetheless. Ramirez hit 42 doubles and 24 homers on the season, still solid power numbers, especially for a shortstop. And while Ramirez’ speed game was hampered somewhat by a hamstring problem early in the year, he wasn’t bad on the bases either. According to Rally’s figures, Ramirez was able to put up three runs above average on the bases.
Along with a much improved defensive effort (essentially an average defensive year at shortstop), Ramirez’ production was well up to par for MVP standards. In 2009, he ended up second on the ballot for MVP behind St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who was a unanimous selection. While the odds of winning an MVP were slim for Ramirez this year, I think the performance put him on the map for the mainstream media, and consideration for these awards should be forthcoming in the years to come.
While Ramirez’ season was great, there is almost certainly going to be some regression down towards the mean in the years to come. Those singles and that BABIP will not likely stick for 2010, and Ramirez will need to supplement some of that value by either getting on base in other ways or increasing his power. Given the various random leg injuries Ramirez suffered last season, perhaps he was hampered in terms of speed in 2009. At the same time, Ramirez could also be suppressing his speed game because of his spot in the lineup. We know hitting third has limited his plate appearances, and maybe Ramirez could be better placed in another lineup slot. Using The Book’s suggestions, perhaps Ramirez’ PA’s could be better leveraged batting second (increasing his number of appearances) or dropping him to cleanup (seeing more baserunners).
For tomorrow, I’ll unveil not only the #1 season of this decade by a Florida Marlin, but I’ll also unveil the Florida Marlins All-Decade team. Make sure you tune in, and wish me a happy birthday along the way, as it is my birthday tomorrow!