Many doubted Hanley Ramirez would be able to make the transition from shortstop to third base for the Miami Marlins. Trade speculation began to swirl tirelessly as much of the media automatically assumed the arrival of Jose Reyes would lead to the departure of Ramirez.
If the first 16 games of the 2012 season is any indication of what his production might be like for the rest of the year, Hanley will prove all of his doubters wrong.
Ramirez's performance has reminded fans why he was one of baseballs most elite players from 2006-2010 when he averaged nearly 25 HR, 78 RBI and a .313 average.
It would be hard for anyone to face the reality of being replaced at a position they once held for a long period.
In this instance, the face of the Marlins' franchise Ramirez was told he would have to learn a new position to make room for a new teammate. Luckily for Hanley, it was his good friend and former NL batting champion arriving to take over at SS.
Jose Reyes brings a lot to a clubhouse far beyond his on the field skill set. Reports are Reyes' personality has fit in perfectly with his new team and has helped Ramirez immensely by motivating him in his new role.
A clip featured on Showtime's The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins, shows a first-hand look at the friendship between Reyes and Ramirez.
Hanley dismissed any previous reports on how the two could not co-exist and even goes as far as to comparing them to another All-Star duo in Miami—Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
If Ramirez can stay healthy, he's on track to have his best offensive season of his career. Hanley already has 4 HR and 12 RBI and, at this rate, could very well be among the NL leaders in both categories at the end of the season.
This of course is assuming Matt Kemp cools off from his incredible start that projects him to break almost every offensive single season record, ever.
Manager Ozzie Guillen predicted Hanley Ramirez would win the NL Most Valuable Player award before the Marlins first game of the season.
Guillen went on by saying:
“If Hanley Ramirez stays healthy, Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be MVP in this league because I think with the players he has in front of him and behind him that will help him. I will predict that and I hope I am right.’’
Guillen has struggled tremendously in finding the right words to say so far this season. But if Guillen's prediction stands true, Hanley would be the first Marlin to win the MVP award in the organization's first year in the new Marlins Park.
Does Hanley Ramirez possibly need any more motivation?