After the Red Sox DFA’d Hanley Ramirez there was an immediate rush to see which team will sign the aging slugger. But no one stopped to ask, is Ramirez even worth signing at this point in his career?
The short, and immediate, answer is no.
Ramirez’s hard hit rate is the lowest rate it’s been since his first year in Boston and isolated and regular slugging percentage are at insanely low levels. Because his offensive value has primarily been tied to his power, and he’s no longer hitting for power, the 34-year old has posted a wRC+ of 90 (10 points below league average). The unfortunate thing is that there is no obvious place for regression (in a positive direction).
Even his low BABIP of .283 — which is actually up over last season — seems likes it’s destined to stick around where it is…and that’s because of the decrease in his hard hit rate.
The most worrying thing for me, and the obvious reason not to sign him, is his decreased walk rate and on base percentage. Currently, Ramirez is walking in 7.2% of his plate appearances (a career low) and his OBP is sitting at .313 (also a career low). And that seems to be because he’s trying to guess more at pitches because he’s lost his bat speed; compare his heatmap from this season to 2012 and you’ll see what I mean.
He’s swinging at more pitches on the outside part of the plate than he has in the past.
It’s obvious that his skill set is slipping, and that’s why Hanley Ramirez is not worth signing.