Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.
Since 2004, Aramis Ramirez has averaged 28 HRs, 96 RBI and a .295 batting average per season. That’s including the 80 games he missed in 2009 due to a dislocated shoulder, and the thumb, oblique and quad injuries that lingered last season, limiting him to just 124 games while yielding a career-low .241 batting average.
Yet despite his troubles last season, Ramirez’s 25 HRs and 83 RBI were matched by just six other third basemen.
Ramirez’s .245 BABIP was likely the effect of a league-high 56.8 percent fly-ball rate (career 45.7 percent). The combination of his prolonged early-season slump and lingering thumb injury likely forced him to press at the plate, causing the ridiculously high number of fly balls. This should even out in 2011, resulting in a normal BABIP, and thus, a more Ramirez-like batting average.
Though the injury bug remains a concern given that he’s missed 118 games over the last two seasons, Ramirez will bat third in a curious Cubs lineup. Without a true leadoff hitter, the Cubs will likely rotate Blake DeWitt, Starlin Castro and Kosuke Fukudome atop the order. Ramirez will likely be protected by Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd. Ideal? No. But there’s enough talent around to help Ramirez approach another 25/90/.280 season.
Draft the 32-year-old as the ninth third baseman, No. 77 overall.
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Image courtesy of: Jonathan Lurie
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