Hanley Ramirez appears to be happy in Los Angeles, and a happy Ramirez is a .300 hitter. We don’t have statistics for happiness, but Ramirez seems to enjoy his new city, and seems to enjoy the star power around him. No I am not talking about Hollywood, I am talking about Gonzalez, Kemp, Puig, and the like. Ramirez produced enough in 2013 to be the first shortstop taken in most 2014 drafts.
The at bats were down in 2013 due to injuries. If Ramirez can stay healthy in 2014 it would be fair to expect a healthy increase in runs and runs batted in. The stolen bases I have no doubt are in decline, and a fantasy owner should not bank on his old 50 or even 30 stolen base days. In many draft Ramirez may be a first rounder. This is primarily due to his position being shortstop. An owner is not maximizing their projected statistics by taking Ramirez in the first round compared to many of the other first rounders, who will hit with more power, or run with more speed. But an owner will be drafting a shortstop who can produce significantly more than the second tier of shortstops available.
As I mentioned earlier I do believe Ramirez is a .300 hitter. In 9 seasons Ramirez has had 3 season under .300, one of which was his rookie season (.292). The other two season below .300 were 2011 and 2012, these were the seasons where Ramirez was not happy with his playing situation in Miami. It is unsettling that a disgruntled Ramirez could mean a 60 point drop in batting average, but we have reason to believe that he is happy and ready to produce.
I would prefer to use my early picks on players that are going to boost my counting numbers, Ramirez can not do this to the degree other top notch players can. But if your goal is to get strength at a weak position Ramirez may be a good choice.
My 2014 projection for Ramirez:
Jacoby Ellsbury got his big contract for the Yankees, and will require an equally high investment in fantasy draft rooms. But what are you investing in exactly? In 2013 Ellsbury put together a fine season:
The stolen bases really stand out in this stat line. He will supply runs and a good batting average as well, but is he a first rounder? I have found that you can typically find stolen bases later in the draft. They may not come from as balanced of a player, but I’d prefer to pick up power in the early rounds. You want to argue that Ellsbury can hit for power? You think he will benefit from the jet stream going to right field at the new Yankee stadium? Lets take a look.
In 2011 Ellsbury was fantasy gold, added power to his speed game.
I quite simply do not buy the power numbers, I think they were some sort of mirage. His home run totals since have been, 4 and 9, and I do not think Yankee stadium will be a big help. In that awesome 2011 season Ellsbury hit 4 home runs at Yankee stadium.
These are his career numbers at the new Yankee Stadium:
Notice the home run numbers are the same. I will prefer to find my stolen bases elsewhere and wait on Ellsbury, unless he falls enough in draft, which I do not expect him too.
My 2014 Projection for Ellsbury: