Hanley Ramirez returned to form in 2016, moving to first base, the veteran batted .288 in the first half of the season, although he only hit eight home runs and slugged .435. He turned the page in the second half, though, belting 22 home runs and driving in 63 runs. His second-half surge brought his slugging percentage up to .505, his best mark since his injury-shortened 2013 campaign with the Dodgers. He only qualifies at first base heading into 2017, and while there had been speculation that he would take over for David Ortiz as the team's everyday DH this season, a slew of offseason moves now make it seem possible that Ramirez will start at first base against lefties, spelling Mitch Moreland. This would allow Ramirez to retain first base eligibility in most formats, which would be important for his value in keeper leagues. He is a good bet to offer four-category production with a handful of steals thrown in, hitting in the middle of a loaded Red Sox lineup.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Ramirez will be the designated hitter "against every right-handed pitcher," Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. After signing Mitch Moreland to man first base for Boston this season, Ramirez will be in line to DH whenever a right-hander toes the rubber for the opposition. It still remains to be seen how Farrell plays Ramirez against left-handed pitching, but this news seems to put the veteran slugger in a place to be in the lineup nearly every game, giving him a good amount of value hitting in the middle of the potent Red Sox batting order.
Ramirez could still play some first base this coming season as part of a platoon with the newly acquired Mitch Moreland, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. While it was never stated as such, Ramirez was always seen as a replacement for David Ortiz as Boston's designated hitter. And now that Ortiz has moved on, Ramirez could easily slide into that role full time while Boston makes the lefty-hitting Moreland the everyday starter at first base. But not so fast. Having a classic left/right platoon at first base allows manager John Farrell to use the designated hitter spot as a way to take advantage of certain matchups and give his everyday players the occasional day off from the field.
Ramirez is out of the lineup Thursday against the Yankees, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports. After clinching the AL East on Wednesday night, Ramirez will have Thursday off. Ramirez has dominated at the plate during the month of September, as he's posted a .323/.388/.667 line with 10 home runs in that time. Travis Shaw will start in his place at first base and hit eighth.
Ramirez went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI against the Orioles on Thursday. Three months into the season, Han-Ram had hit just eight balls out of the yard; in the three months since, he's added 21 to that total, putting the veteran on the verge of only his second career 30-homer campaign. More than a full third of his homers (10) have come in a white-hot September; Ramirez owns a ridiculous .360/.415/.787 line with 25 RBI in just 19 games this month.
Ramirez (shoulder, foot) is in Thursday's lineup against Baltimore, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. Ramirez sat out Wednesday, but will return to action Thursday as he starts at first base and hits fifth versus the Orioles. Ramirez has dominated at the plate recently, as he's posted a .435/.480/1.000 line with four home runs and 10 RBI over the last seven games.