Monday, May 19, 2008

Hanley Trying to Do Too Much

Hanley Ramirez has been slumping of late. He clearly hasn't been seeing the ball as well, taking a number of fastball strikes while chasing out of the strike zone (Tommy Hutton reminded us of this about 40 times in the last two days). Most attribute it to "pressing," and there are legitimate reasons for this:

1. The weight of the new contract - Hanley is simply trying to do too much. He wants to prove he's worth the money, that he can lead this team to the playoffs, and so he's overthinking at the plate. He should take a page out of Scott Olsen's book and think less.

2. He's just in a slump. Any time a slump starts, it's difficult to break out of. He will eventually, but it may take a couple more games.

3. He was too homer-happy. I suggested this a while ago. I feared his long-ball success would lead him to swing for the fences too much, and I was right. The good news is that he changed his philosophy, but to no avail. Again, it's causing him to think too much. He needs to just go up there and hit.

Fish Stripes seems to agree with me, while adding a little tidbit on Hanley's defensive lapses (which I wholeheartedly assent to):

"This very common when a player signs a contract for a lot of money. It happens all the time. They end up thinking they need to carry the team everyday when all that is required is that be themselves.

Hanley will be fine.

However if he would like to improve on an aspect of his game, could I suggest, he quit triple pumping on balls he fields which allow the runners to make it to first ahead of the throw. He is doing it way too much this season. I really don't believe it is because he is lackadaisical but I think it is a confidence thing. Field the ball and throw it, quit thinking. Thinking only hurts the ball club."

I want to stress Craig's point about Hanley's effort, because that's been a major misconception. Hanley isn't lazy at all. He just has mental lapses, perhaps because of a shortage of confidence, as Fish Stripes suggests. He's really a good guy.

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