Hanley Ramirez – the most successful LA Dodger named Ramirez since Manny
Hanley Ramirez got off to a nice start with his new team, but let’s take a bit of a look at his career arc.
In 2006, Ramirez put up a 116 OPS+ as a 22-year old shortstop. One other 22-year old SS also put up a 116 ERA+: Joe Sewell in 1921. Sewell is a HOFer (though probably one of the weakest, with just 49.2 career WAR) and it would be a great career for Ramirez to replicate.
In 2007, Ramirez had a 145 OPS+ as a 23-year old shortstop. That’s quite similar to Cal Ripken, age 23 in 1984, who put up a 146 OPS+. Another good guy to copy.
In 2008, Ramirez had a 143 OPS+ as a 24-year old shortstop. Most similar this time is Ernie Banks in 1955, who had a 144 OPS+ in his Age 24 season. Still looking great.
In 2009, Ramirez had his best season, a 148 OPS+ as a 25-year old shortstop. The most similar season by a 25-year old shortstop came from Derek Jeter in 1999, who posted a 153 OPS+. Still a great comparison group for Ramirez.
In 2010, Ramirez slipped a bit to a 126 OPS+ as a 26-year old shortstop. The most similar in this case is Bill Hall‘s 2006, with a 125 OPS+ (although Jeter’s 2000 was close with a 128 OPS+–and this was a more typical year for Jeter as his 1999 had been quite a positive aberration.) Hall has managed only 8.4 WAR in his career, and that 2006 was a standout fluke year for him.
In 2011, Ramirez had his only season to date where he missed significant time. Let’s presume he maintained his 95 OPS+ for the whole season, doing so as a 27-year old shortstop. A number of 27-year old shortstops have put up a 95 OPS+ but the most recent was Tony Fernandez in 1989. Fernandez is an underrated player, and with a career WAR of 42.0 he’s only a tick or two behind Sewell.
So far in 2012, Ramirez has a 99 OPS+, which he’s doing as a 28-year old third baseman instead of shortstop. A number of 28-year old 3B’s have put up a 99 OPS+, the most recent being Travis Fryman in 1997. Fryman finished his career with a very respectable 31.2 WAR–unquestionably not a Hall of Famer, but a good player. The biggest knock on him is that he put up a 74 OPS+ over his Age 32 and 33 seasons, and was done as a player after that.
Anyway, Ramirez’s comp progression goes like this:
With the exception of Hall, all of these guys were at least really good in their prime. Obviously, though, the trend is going in the wrong direction.
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