When you talk about lead off hitters, hobby heavyweights like Ichiro, Alfonso Soriano, Grady Sizemore & Jose Reyes automatically come to mind. But the one that might be having the best season of them all is the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez. This 23-year-old shortstop is batting a NL-leading .341, with 21 HR, 59 RBI & 37 SB through 8/12.
Ramirez, the ‘06 NL ROY, has only had one month so far this season with a below .300 batting average (.279 in May), and was on fire in July, hitting .424. He is a part of a talented group of 20-somethings on this Florida Marlins roster, which also includes Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla & Josh Willingham. Unfortunately for the Marlins, these guys’ hot hitting hasn’t been enough to overcome the team’s terrible rotation performance. Starting pitchers have a combined 5.13 ERA.
I’ve read that the Marlins were thinking about the possibility of having Ramirez in the middle of the line-up, which could help to drive in more runs (as long as the hitters in front of him get on base). I think that he can be successful wherever he hits, but he would probably be the most valuable in the #1 or #2 spots, with Cabrera hitting #3 behind him. I think that the Marlins are one of the teams of the future, and Ramirez will definitely be one of the stars to lead them to success.