JUPITER, Fla. –- The beaming smile on Hanley Ramirez’s face wakes me up more than the Starbucks coffee in my hand. Ramirez is happy once again and the Miami Marlins will be the beneficiaries of that new, great attitude. Ramirez is one of three high-profile players making the transition to third base this spring, along with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Mark Trumbo of the Los Angeles Angels. Much of spring camp already has been dedicated to getting reps at the hot corner for these three, and Ramirez should have the easiest adjustment, even though Cabrera is the one with previous experience at third. Let's break down each player's chances of sticking at third one by one.
The reason Ramirez should have the easiest transition is because he is moving from shortstop, which is a more difficult position, and he has the right body type.
His hands have always been above average, and because third is a reactionary position, the transition has been smooth thus far. He and coach Joey Cora have worked hard on the drop step to create the good hop. At times he still hops into his throwing motion instead of trading places with his feet and gaining ground toward the target. It’s a work in progress. I’ve seen him make three or four web-gem-type plays so far this spring, as well as a couple of errors, too.