Hanley Ramirez Is On Pace For an 11.3 WAR Season

ramirez_giants_2013-05-03I briefly thought of presenting that stat without any context, because, wow. But that’s probably a bit unfair, so check out the batting leaderboards at FanGraphs if you would. Hanley Ramirez, you’ll note, doesn’t appear. That’s because his injuries and missed time have limited him to merely 201 plate appearances, so he doesn’t qualify for the batting title. Now pull down the “minimum PA” selector to 200 plate appearances, and there he is, tied with Edwin Encarnacion, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Beltre for 27th at 3.5 WAR.

ramirez_war_200paOf course, when you look at the other guys in that 3.5-4.0 range, from Jason Kipnis on down, you’ll notice that most of them have well over 400 plate appearances. Pedroia actually has nearly 500, as you can see at right. (The two columns at right are “games played” and “plate appearances”.)

Since WAR is a counting stat rather than a rate stat — think of it in the same way that you can’t hit 40 homers in three games, but you can hit .500 — that means that Ramirez has been roughly as valuable as Pedroia despite playing only 40% of the time. (Insert “WAR isn’t perfect and defensive metrics are still improving” disclaimers all over the place here.)

Ramirez has been worth about 1.75 WAR per 100 plate appearances so far, and if you set a standard regular season at 650 plate appearances, Ramirez has played about 30% of a full season. (He’s actually topped that number several times, but his years of 700 plate appearances were somewhat inflated because he often hit leadoff in Miami.) Were he to keep up this current pace over 450 more plate appearances, you end up with 11.37 WAR for the full season.

If you’re trying to put that into historical context, well, that’s a number that’s been topped just 18 times in the history of baseball, and nine of those are Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth. So, yeah, it’s good.

Obviously, this is just a fun thought exercise, because it’s not really rooted in reality. Ramirez can’t play a full season, because that time is gone, and if he stays healthy he’ll likely top out at around 420 plate appearances or so. Even if he could, he’s not sustaining a .401 BABIP for an entire year, and I’ll admit I’m not totally buying a defensive ranking that has him being average or above for the first time since 2008. (He’s been better than expected, but I don’t believe the times that he’s been unable to complete a double play that many other shortstops would have are taken into account.)

The point is not to try and rank Ramirez on a historical scale, nor to expect him to be this good indefinitely. The point is simply to try to stop and realize… good lord, has he been unbelievable. For all the credit given to Yasiel Puig, I think we know who has really been the focal point of this season turning around, and it’s going to be really fun down the stretch if he keeps this up and gets himself into an NL MVP conversation that has no obvious front-runner and just lost Yadier Molina to injury.

We see you, Hanley. We see you.

488 comments
RustyH
RustyH

Hanley biggest value is his relative improvement to what would be replacing him compared to Puig. Hanley vs. Dee and Puig vs. Ethier.

Lobo
Lobo

We don't need a Kershaw is awesome post from Mike.  We just made one ourselves

PagansOedipalComplex
PagansOedipalComplex

I never realized how much the deadline must have sucked for the DBacks

Give up a somewhat reliable starter who can give you innings with upside for a LOOGY and miss out on Pervy, no guarantee Skaggs or Bradley or whomever will be better than Kennedy for the rest of the year

DodgersFan
DodgersFan

Kershaw's rWAR has broken 30. Basically, he's halfway to the hall of fame at age 25. Wow.

great at maff
great at maff

If dodgers win WS this year do you think Vin hangs em up?

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@Lobo this is precisely why one day, mike should let his posters write the article and then he's the only one who provides comments. It'd be like a special guest thing.

Lobo
Lobo

@JackedNate "The eigenvalue is off"

They have absolutely no clue what an eigenvalue is

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@ JohnM Normally I would scoff at such a ridiculous remark. But in Claytons case It's not a ridiculous remark. Its a fact! Koufax only had to pitch until he was 31 to amass the same numbers Clayton is is tracking at 29

TellMyWifeISaidHello
TellMyWifeISaidHello

@ JohnM If he leads the League in ERA this year and next. He already has a pretty darn good case on peak alone

I Digesti
I Digesti

Its not so bad when you're in Greece

Lobo
Lobo

@Slow Uncle Charlie Possible but I sure hope not.  I feel like Vin will continue to at least call home games until he is no longer physically able to do so

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

@Lobo @Slow Uncle Charlie and I wonder if after that he moves into the Ralph Kiner role, which is letting someone else have the job but still showing up for a few innings every Sunday home game.

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@Slow Uncle Charlie

It sucked when Chick Hearn passed away, but there is a sense of comfort knowing that the last game he ever called was LA’s 3-peat championship

I Digesti
I Digesti

All indications are that his health is spectacular and that he enjoys the time at the park. I think the home game thing would be a great idea if he decides to scale back

Lobo
Lobo

@Mike Petriello @Lobo @Slow Uncle Charlie Yeah, I just really don't know if Vin would be capable of completely leaving the Dodgers.  They've been his life for over 50 years now.  Even if it's just small roles I think he'll always be a part of the Dodger's organization.  And when he's gone they should still play a recording of him saying "It's time for Dodger baseball!" before every game