From SABR member Ryan Morrison at Baseball Prospectus on March 7, 2016:
It wasn’t good. Hanley Ramirez had learned a new position on the fly before, taking six years of below-average but tolerable work at shortstop and contributing most of a season’s worth of not-quite-as-below average work at third base back in 2012. But Ramirez was by many accounts the worst defender in all of baseball last year, grading out at -19 DRS and -17.8 UZR in just over a half season’s work, good for a -31.9 UZR/150. The other current or former third basemen to give him a run for his money (Pedro Alvarez, Conor Gillaspie, Pablo Sandoval, Cody Asche) really didn’t come close, with Alvarez’s -26.4 UZR/150 at first base almost as amazing, and yet several runs short. When Ramirez was signed as a sight-unseen left fielder, the Red Sox may have figured it wouldn’t be good, but they can’t have thought it would be that bad.
Maybe it wasn’t.
I’m not saying he was secretly good out there—that would be one hell of a secret. And I’m not saying it’s up in the air, because 747.2 innings is such a small sample—it is, but not so small that defensive metrics this extreme aren’t meaningful. What I am saying is that even after adjustments, defensive metrics may have been unfair to Red Sox left fielders, making a very bad season look so bad that it’s hard to believe.
Originally published: March 8, 2016. Last Updated: March 8, 2016.