Is Hanley Ramirez an Upgrade for the Dodgers?

July 29, 2012

With the Trading Deadline rapidly approaching, teams are deciding between going all-in for 2012 or building for the future. One buyer, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have the division title within their sights and decided to make a splash, acquiring Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins in an effort to shore up the left side of their infield.

Ramirez was one of the National League's best players as recently as 2010, when he started at shortstop in his third straight All-Star Game. Since then, however, Hanley has been a shadow of his MVP-caliber self, batting under .250 with a significant power loss since the start of 2011. The Dodgers are hoping the former batting champion with 25+ home run power will reignite in Los Angeles.

Even if his bat rebounds in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers may still have a problem on their hands. Even before his offensive struggles, Hanley's defense has been a problem. According to Defensive Runs Saved (as calculated by Baseball Info Solutions), Hanley cost the Marlins 64 runs compared to an average defensive shortstop from 2006 through 2011. Using the rule of thumb that 10 runs translates to a win in the standings, Ramirez cost his team about a win per season with his defense.

Upon signing shortstop Jose Reyes this offseason, the Miami Marlins moved the 28-year-old Hanley to third base to accommodate last year's batting champion. Unfortunately, Hanley hasn't been much better at the hot corner, costing the Marlins 10 runs this year with his defense, placing him 33rd out of 35 regular third basemen in Defensive Runs Saved. When you add in his value at the plate and on the basepaths in addition to an adjustment for the difficulty of playing the position, Hanley's 55 Total Runs at the time of the trade put him in a tie for as the 146th-best player in baseball. By comparison, Dodgers infielders Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston had provided solid defense (7 Defensive Runs Saved) and combined for more Total Runs (57) than Ramirez this season despite fewer plate appearances.

By comparison, David Wright leads the league with 103 Total Runs in 2012. Including his contributions on both sides of the ball, Wright leads a group of players considered the top MVP candidates at this point in the season.

Total Runs Leaders (2012)
Player Runs Created Baserunning Runs Runs Saved Positional Adjustment Total Runs
David Wright 78 1 9 15 103
Robinson Cano 74 0 10 18 102
Andrew McCutchen 86 5 -5 16 102
Mike Trout 78 1 10 12 101
Michael Bourn 67 4 11 17 99



COMMENTS (2 Comments, most recent shown first)

The ranking of the best players is a surprise. Cano and Wright are viewed as not having as good seasons as McCutheon and Trout. Also Trout only shows with 1 baserunning run despite his SB. Interesting data.
7:28 AM Jul 30th
The fact that you used the words "Juan" and Uribe" in your article answers the question in the headline.
12:31 AM Jul 30th
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