2008 Projections: Manny Ramirez

A new year means new expectations, new goals. Last season was a pretty big disappointment by Manny Ramirez standards. Sidelined for over a month with a strained oblique in September, Ramirez totaled only 20 HR and 88 RBI in 483 ABs, his lowest production in those categories since his rookie year (1994), in which he played only half of a season. So it was basically his worst season ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, especially after his dominating performance in the 2007 playoffs. Even at 36, Manny is still a premier hitter and the only really dangerous right-handed bat we have in our lineup. I think his performance will be critical to the team’s success going forward.

On the bright side, it’s hard to believe that Manny would reproduce his worst season as a Red Sox in 2008. Something more along the lines of .300/.390/.540 is realistic, I think. I expect him to get about 500 AB for the season, because the last two seasons he’s gone down at the end of the season for a month at a time. I don’t think it’ll necessarily happen again, but clearly his durability is becoming an issue as he enters his late 30s. That should translate into about 30-32 HR and 110 RBI, and a WARP1 value just under 5, still a very good season.

What can we expect in 2008? Here are a few of the better known projections, for comparison’s sake:

Marcels:	.292/.385/.520	25HR	 92RBI	456AB
Bill James:	.301/.405/.552	33HR	113RBI	539AB
CHONE:		.284/.389/.520	27HR	 88RBI	465AB

The Marcel projections (courtesy of Tom Tango) are basically weighted averages from the past three seasons with age regression, Bill James (via FanGraphs) is also confident that Manny will continue to be Manny in 2008, and the CHONE predictions are from Chone Smith.


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