Hanley Ramirez's Road to the MLB

Kevin DevineContributor IJune 9, 2008

Hanley Ramirez is arguable one of the best up-and-coming shortstops in the Major Leagues.

Hanley was born on Dec. 23, 1983, in Samana, Dominican Republic. He was a hot prospect in the Boston Red Sox's farm system from 2002 to 2005, and he spent most of the '04-'05 season with the A-affiliate Portland Sea Dogs.

In 2004, Hanley heated up, hitting .310 with 25 home runs, 45 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 132 games. In 2005, he played the majority of the year in single-A Portland, were his stats took a slight decline. But overall, he still had excellent offensive production and was called up to the major leagues in September of 2005.

His first major-league at-bat was on September 20, 2005 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, which resulted in a strikeout. He was a top-rated prospect in the Red Sox organization before being traded to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, and third basemen Mike Lowell. This deal also sent Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Marlins.

The 2006 season is when Hanley was showcased as a star in the MLB—he took home the 2006 Rookie of the Year, and lead all MLB rookies with a .292 average, 185 hits, 119 runs, 11 triples, and 51 SBs.

He became the first Marlin ever to post double digits in triples and stolen bases, a great achievement, let alone for a rookie. He also hit seven leadoff home runs, the most in team history for both a season and career.

The 2007 season started and Hanley started his sophomore campaign where he left off in 2006. Hanley was hitting .331 with 14 home runs, 35 RBI, and 27 stolen bases at the 2007 All-Star break.

Now, you would think those numbers should guarantee an All-Star bid, but many writers were shocked by him being chosen. On July 22, 2007 he suffered a partial dislocation in his left shoulder. He finished the season playing in 154 games and batting a staggering .332 with 29 home runs, 81 RBI, 125 runs, and 51 steals. 

He fell only one home run shy of becoming only the third player in MLB history to hit 30 or more HRs and steal 50 or more bases in the same season. After the 2007 season, Hanley underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his left shoulder.

Now, starting the 2008 season, Hanley is the face of the Marlins franchise, with the Marlins trading superstar Miguel Cabrera and star pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers.

In addition, Hanley signed a six-year, $70 million extension, making him the highest paid player in Marlins history, and locking him up until 2011. MLB.com has reported that Hanley will receive $23.5 million in his arbitration years of 2009 through 2011. However, there is a no-trade clause.

Hanley is one of the top five shortstops in the league and the future of the MLB.