Yasiel Puig has been a sensation. Matt Kemp, maybe baseball’s best player two years ago, is back from injury. Adrian Gonzalez galvanizes the Latino fan base and leads the team in homers an RBIs. Andre Ethier is called a team savior.
Then there’s Hanley Ramirez.
A player who won a batting title, is a three-time all-star, is a former National League rookie of the year and is in the prime of his career.
And he’s being overlooked? Yeah, kind of. Compared with Puig captivating the sporting world and the adulation thrown at Kemp, the attention hasn’t exactly been heaped on Ramirez.
Only, it should. He’s the one guy on the team who may be actually hitting the ball harder than Puig. He stings almost every ball. He hit a solo homer off the left-field foul pole Tuesday that looked like it had been launched by JPL.
“Hanley’s dangerous,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “He hits the ball hard, as hard as anybody. He’s just dangerous. I don’t know what else to say about it. I don’t have to tell him that, he knows it too. He can hit.”
In his last eight games, Ramirez is 14 for 30 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. It’s the best he’s felt at the plate in a while.
“Um, 2009 when I was batting champion,” Ramirez said.
In his first five full seasons in the majors, Ramirez hit .313 with .385 on-base and .521 slugging percentages. But after shoulder surgery following the 2010 season, the next two years he hit .252/.326/.416.
Ramirez, 29, came to the Dodgers last summer, the first significant addition since the team’s new ownership took over. Only with his season stalled after two lengthy stints on the disabled list, he is now finally back and making a significant difference in the lineup.
He appears rejuvenated at leaving behind his recent struggles in Miami and joining the Dodgers. And, of course, at the moment is healthy.
He’s been somewhat overshadowed by the blockbuster trade with Boston and the signing of right-hander Zack Greinke and Puig.
But right now, he is batting cleanup and looking impressive. Right now, he’s deserving of some real attention.