2012 projection: 136 games, .298 BA, .379 OBP, .489 SLG, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 28 SB
2012: 157 games, .257 BA, .322 OBP, .437 SLG, 24 HR, 92 RBI, 21 SB
2013 projection: 144 games, .281 BA, .356 OBP, .470 SLG, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 23 SB
2013: 86 games, .345 BA, .402 OBP, .638 SLG, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 10 SB
2014 projection: 151 games, .296 BA, .368 OBP, .505 SLG, 27 HR, 86 RBI, 23 SB
2014: 128 games, .283 BA, .369 OBP, .448 SLG, 13 HR, 71 RBI, 14 SB
2015 projection: 151 games, .290 BA, .367 OBP, .476 SLG, 23 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB
The rumors would crop up almost every year between the time Hanley Ramirez went to Florida and this offseason: the one-time Red Sox prospect was coming back. It now seems there's an actual fire under all that smoke, and Ramirez, now a bona fide star, is on his way back to Boston.
But what can we expect from Ramirez this season? It's unclear where the soon-to-be 31-year-old will even play: the Red Sox seem content with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop (and pulling him from his natural position seemed to have consequences this season), and are reportedly among the finalists to sign free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
There's talk that Ramirez could end up in left field if the Red Sox are the winners of the Sandoval sweepstakes, but he's never played a major league game in the outfield in his ten years of service time. One thing remains clear: no matter what we get from Ramirez defensively, his bat will add some much-needed pop to a Red Sox lineup that in 2014 could be accurately described as "lethargic."
Ramirez's average has hovered around .300 his entire career, and his power numbers are certainly well above what you would expect from a shortstop in the post-steroid era. Over the past few years, Bill James and his team have done a reliable job either underestimating Ramirez slightly, or hitting their projections almost exactly on the nose.
If Ramirez can live up to what James has projected for his 2015 in the midst of trading one big market (LA) for another (the admittedly much more baseball-crazed Boston), we should have an exciting season on our hands.
Welcome back to Boston, Hanley Ramirez: the expectations will be higher here, but the fans will show up before the third inning and stay until the end, and the reward, should you lead us all the way, will be that much sweeter.