Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Ramirez, for all his antics, is feeling the effects of age, and this past winter, for the first time in his career, he swung a bat to get ready for the upcoming season. Beginning December 1st, he trained almost every day at a facility called Perfect Competition, outside Fort Lauderdale. For two months, he worked exclusively on hitting the ball to the right side, but he has decided to abandon his years-long attempt to master the outside rail—the old Frank Mancini special—and concede those rare pitchers’ pitches rather than try to drive them the other way. “Getting old,” he remarked in the final week of spring training. “I don’t mess around with it no more.”
For almost any other professional athlete, it would be very concerning to hear the above comments but this could just be Manny being Manny. Rarely do pros discuss their vulnerabilities. Given Manny’s tough start, could age finally be catching up to the future Hall of Famer as he indicates.
PECOTA weighted mean projects a 297/400/567 with 33 dingers for Manny - his standard kick ass production. But his collapse rate is relatively large at 43%. PECOTA thinks that there is a 43% chance that Manny’s production will drop by *at least* 20% from his last three seasons. A 20% decrease would put Manny’s VORP at around 49, which is still very good - a top 35 performer, anything more of a drop makes his terrible defense more difficult to overlook.
With that being said, Manny BB and SO rates are still good to date. He could be a victim of bad luck - hitting them where they are. Time will tell, but I am officially concerned.
One other excerpt from Ben McGrath’s piece that is hilarious from Ray Negron:
“I came up with the craziness of the Yankees in the seventies—the ‘Bronx Zoo,’ and Sparky Lyle and all of them sitting on cakes without clothes on. Manny was mild compared to what I had been used to.” In Cleveland, I pointed out, Ramirez used to walk into the video room naked to study tapes of pitchers. “Do you understand why I would see that as normal?” Negron said. “He wasn’t sitting on a birthday cake.”
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