In the last five seasons, his on-base percentage when leading off an inning has been .439 or better three times. Even when it dropped, his two lowest marks were .357 in 2015 and .358 in 2012.
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In 2016, he had a .328/.439/.561 slash line when leading off an inning. Fowler did more than get on base in the first inning of Game 7 of the World Series. He homered to lead off the game.
Eaton was comparable. He slash-lined .341/.409/.578 with 10 home runs when leading off an inning in 2016. Eaton had consistently been a .350 to .360 on-base percentage player in those situations the previous three seasons. His 10 home runs when leading off an inning were three more than he had in the previous two seasons combined.
All along, Ramirez seemed like a logical choice to take the baton from Ortiz, the iconic slugger who served as the Red Sox’s DH for most of the past 14 years. But Ramirez also exceeded expectations as a first baseman last season, prompting speculation that the Red Sox might keep him at the position on a full-time basis.
Ramirez has thrived as a DH, albeit in a small sample size. In 36 games at the DH spot, Ramirez is 47-for-142 (.331) with 10 homers and a .634 slugging percentage.
“I just want to play and have my four at-bats, maybe five,” Ramirez said last week from a charity golf event in the Dominican Republic to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. “That’s all that matters. Just go out there and kick some butt. It doesn’t matter where I’m going to be playing.”
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Moreland played on Rangers teams that lost back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Moreland has been on his radar since he ran baseball operations for the Detroit Tigers.