Sep 6, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers Hanley Ramirez (13) reacts to striking out against Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (54) [not pictured] during the top of the 9th inning of the game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

National League MVP Race: A Vote in Favor of Hanley Ramirez

Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a shame to say that there is a zero percent chance that Hanley Ramirez will walk away with the NL MVP Award. His sample size is simply too small. When he has been on the field he has been nothing short of the “Hanley of Old”, the sparkling talent that won a batting title and was a serious threat at a 30-30 season every single year.

From 2006 to 2010 his stat line speaks for itself:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 22 FLA 158 700 633 119 185 46 11 17 59 51 56 .292 .353 .480 .833 116
2007 23 FLA 154 706 639 125 212 48 6 29 81 51 52 .332 .386 .562 .948 145
2008 24 FLA 153 693 589 125 177 34 4 33 67 35 92 .301 .400 .540 .940 143
2009 25 FLA 151 652 576 101 197 42 1 24 106 27 61 .342 .410 .543 .954 148
2010 26 FLA 142 619 543 92 163 28 2 21 76 32 64 .300 .378 .475 .853 126
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/11/2013.

Sadly ’11 and ’12 didn’t go as smoothly for him. A myriad of shoulder issues had sapped his power and his patience over a two year stretch. After being moved from shortstop to 3rd base, it was clear that Hanley felt slighted by his former employers and his general disinterest brought back images of another Ramirez loafing around the outfield in Boston. Hanley just being Hanley. He had become oft injured and washed up at best.

When Han-Ram finally landed in Hollywood the Dodgers didn’t know who they were getting. Neither did their fans.

Let’s just say we’ve all be pleasantly surprised. Playing on a good team, a fully healthy Hanley has been rejuvenated and regained his superstar form. His slow posing back swing and hand gestures are no longer seen as showboating but as a talented man having fun again. It has become clear that his immense talent has not been squandered. We can only hope that when Matt Kemp gets back on the field he can regain his form in the same way.

The media storm surrounding the Dodgers historic run to the postseason has been focused on Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw, as they have both been a must watch for any serious baseball fan. The Wild Horse brings back shades of  Bo Jackson and Vladimir Guerrero – running around the outfield with a cannon for a right arm, swinging at balls that nearly bounce in front of the plate and hitting them 13 rows deep to the opposite field.

Kershaw’s run at a sub 2.00 ERA brings back sights of  Greg Maddux, twirling gem after gem. He has been relentless in his pursuit of pitching nirvana.  Kershaw is on the verge of leading the league in ERA three times in a row and that alone will all but seal another Cy Young award for the trophy case. It will be a grand sight to see him throwing 3 hit shutouts on the biggest stage. We can all hope Kershaw channels his inner Orel Hershiser and brings home another championship to the Dodger faithful.

With all of that being said, as a Dodgers fan who hasn’t missed two games in a row the entire season, when it comes to Dodgers MVP neither Puig or Kershaw can take the honor. It is Hanley Ramirez. Adrian Gonzalez has been a consistent, calming presence in the heart of the lineup but Hanley has been in beast mode.

1) The Dodgers are a .500 team when Hanley isn’t on the field.
2) He leads the National League in slugging percentage since his return from the DL.
3) He has solidified the clean up spot vacated by another former MVP runner up, Matt Kemp.
4) He has done in half a season what most shortstops do in two years.
5) Since his return from the DL only Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis have had more production.

NL MVP for Hanley? No.

Dodgers MVP? Yes.

Tags: Hanley Ramirez Los Angeles Dodgers

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