Hanley Ramirez will be this year’s fantasy baseball version of Maurice Jones-Drew.
There. I said it. Couple of months too late, mind you, but it was said.
The sad thing is that while I was campaigning so hard for Hanley to be the first overall fantasy baseball draft pick in most every format this spring, there was actually a small voice in my head suggesting that Hanley would follow a Jones-Drew-ian fall from the uber-elite this season.
So here we are with Hanley dealing with back and leg pain that has left him feeling the “worst he has ever felt.” His stats are ways below what we’d expect from this perennial batting machine and he’s looking at a possible DL stint starting Friday.
Mr. Ramirez is just one of many expected studs who have turned into early 2011 duds. The question, however, is whether or not we should consider him a true buy-low commodity.
A .210 batting average over 181 plate appearances is definitely less than what we’d consider par for Hanley. The fact that he’s hit just four homers during that stretch and driven in a measly 17 runs so far this season doesn’t help to stoke the fantasy confidence, either.
Hanley’s BABIP, usually an indication of luck at the plate, is currently .238, more than 100 points lower than his career mark of .340. This, of course, suggests that he’s be unlucky at the plate and should be due for a nice rebound.
Then again, Hanley’s injury is concerning. It is one thing to be hampered by an injury. Something else entirely to be dealing with something that is so painful, it dwarfs any pain you’ve felt before. We don’t know if Hanley will go on the DL–something he has never done in his entire career. We also don’t know how long he’ll be out of action.
Some worry about Hanley’s drastic reduction in ground balls vs. fly balls. On the surface, it makes sense that someone who is hitting a lot more ground balls would have a lower home run count.
And yet, if Hanley has been dealing most of the season with back and leg pain, that would explain his lack of overall power and fly ball percentage.
So, what to expect moving forward? The short answer is that we don’t know.
Is he a buy-low? Definitely–but for the right price. You can’t pay first-round value for Hanley at this point. Could you get first-round value out of him down the stretch? Sure.
Is it likely? I wouldn’t count on it.
However, considering the shallowness of the shortstop position, Hanley at half-power is still a startable fantasy option in certain deep leagues.
Meet our minor league hitters of the week: Rymer Liriano and Jakob Dalfonso
And our minor league pitchers of the week: Kyle Gibson and Matthew Moore
Did you hear that the Blue Jays plan to unleash third base prospet Brett Lawrie?
For all your hard-hitting fantasy baseball advice, go to www.chinstrapninjas.com