There are many questions surrounding the Miami Marlins going into the 2012 season, but none harder to predict than the production of Hanley Ramirez. Coming off his worst year as a pro, Ramirez is looking for a bounce-back year with a new manager, teammates and home ballpark.
Ramirez has already established himself since his rookie year in 2006 as one of the game's most elite talents. Battling injuries for the majority of last season, Hanley appeared in just 92 games and set career lows nearly every offensive category.
With the arrival of All-Star SS Jose Reyes, Ramirez has moved over to third base. New manager Ozzie Guillen should help guide Hanley back to the level of greatness we all expect from the marquee player. Reyes adds speed to the top of the order which will certainly complement Guillen's managing style and improve the chances for success for Hanley batting third in the order.
The development of Miami's core young players such as Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison will also play a role in helping Hanley get back to his career .300 average.
Staying healthy is the key for Hanley this season, but reports are Ramirez has been one of the most hard-working players on the team during spring training. If he stays healthy, expect one of the best years of his career to come and for him to prove he is still one of the game's best players.
I'm projecting Hanley to finish this regular season with the following:
.305 AVG, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 100 Runs, 30 Steals, 575 AB
The new Marlins Park is a much more hitters-friendly environment than what Hanley is used to playing in at the old stadium. After a stellar spring training in which he hit almost .400 in close to 50 plate attempts with three home runs, we can assume Ramirez is returning to form.