92 games, 385 plate appearances, 10 home runs, 55 runs, 45 RBI's, 20 SB's, .243 AAVG. and a .333 OBP.
Not exactly what you would expect from a top 5 pick in most drafts. Hanley Ramirez put up easily his worst season to date at the age of 27, a year when most players are expected to hit their peak. Why would anyone waste a top 5 pick on him again this year?
A top 5 player doesn't just fall off a cliff for no reason. There is always an explanation, and in Hanley's case, it's simple. He was unlucky. It's awful to hear that term, because we've all heard it way too many times, but Hanley is one of the unluckiest players we've seen in the past decade. Last season, he had a BABIP of .275. That doesn't sound too bad, as the league average was only .295. Hanley however, is no average player. Consider his BABIP numbers over the past 5 years:
His average BABIP over those 5 seasons is .346. His .275 in 2011 is 0.071 point drop from his career average. Matt Kemp was considered unlucky in 2010 when he posted a .295 BABIP, which was a 0.067 point drop from his career average. Why is Hanley suddenly considered to be a risky pick?
It's not as if he suddenly changed his approach, as his xBABIP remained at a more than respectable .337. His walk rate increased and he had the lowest pop out percentage of his career. He struck out a little more than in previous seasons, but it's not a number that should scare anyone away from drafting him. As bad as Hanley was last season, he still posted respectable counting stats in the limited amount of time that he played. Extrapolate his stats over a full season and you get:
678 plate appearances, 18 home runs, 94 runs, 77 RBI's, 34 SB's, .243 AVG. and a .333 OBP.
Ask yourself: "How many shortstops in baseball are able to provide this sort of production?" Once you're done with that, ask yourself: "How many shortstops in baseball are able to provide this sort of production while having the lowest BABIP of their careers and one of the unluckiest seasons we've seen in a while?" I'll set the over/under at 0. Hanley has hit the DL once in his entire career, and it was this past season. Compare that to other shortstops like Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins.
Hanley is an absolute steal right now at the draft. His ADP at FFtoolbox is 22.56. 14 picks behind Troy Tulowitzki and 6 picks behind Jose Reyes. You don't have to pay for his poor defense or for his attitude. Draft him with confidence at any point in the draft and enjoy the ride. At the end of the year, you will have an absolute steal of a pick at one of the weakest positions.