It has been quite some time since I have last posted on this site, and I think it is about time to get it up and running again. What better way to kick things off than to talk about the two MLB players we can’t seem to get enough of: Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez .
Considering the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, it is strange that there have not been many direct comparisons between these two players. Both were the main sluggers on their respective teams, and both were the face of the franchise (for reasons good or bad). But, like any other comparison in baseball, the question becomes: Who is better?
Because of the absurd amount of coverage A-Rod gets, many people seem to assume he is the better player. True, he certainly has the fleet-footed Manny in the speed and defense departments, especially considering the position he plays. I am making the argument that Manny Ramirez is a far superior hitter.
Despite the fact that Ramirez is three years older and wiser (ok, maybe not wiser) than Rodriguez, they are actually in very similar places in their respective careers. Ramirez has played in 2,103 games and logged 7,610 at-bats. A-Rod is not too far behind with 2,042 games and 7,860 at-bats.
In 200 less at-bats, Ramirez has accrued an almost identical amount of hits (2,392 to 2,404), total bases (4,516 to 4,543) and home runs (527 to 553). The only place he seriously falls behind is runs (1,444 to 1,605). His totals for doubles, RBI and walks beat A-Rod’s by a large margin. Perhaps most importantly, Ramirez boasts a career AVG/OBP/SLG line of .314/.411/.593. Rodriguez lags behind in all three categories with a career line of .306/.389/.578.
Another point to make is that while A-Rod was swinging for the big-league fences at the age of 18, Ramirez did not break into the bigs until about the age of 21. In the 12 seasons where he played 130 games or more, Ramirez averaged 36.4 home runs. It is fair to say if Ramirez had begun his MLB career at the same age as A-Rod, he probably would have 90 or so more homers at this point. Even if we drastically cut down the expectations to just 20 homers per season, that still would have put Ramirez near the 600 mark by now.
Regardless of whether you believe Manny is the better hitter or not, he is set to have an historic season. If he puts up career-average numbers, he will surpass 2,500 hits, 550 doubles and home runs, 1,500 runs, 1,800 RBI and 1,300 walks. That is one of the greatest career lines in the history of right-handed hitters, and he still has a few seasons left in the tank. Pound-for-pound, Manny Ramirez has had a better hitting career than Alex Rodriguez.