The best player in Florida is…

… “Evan Longoria”

“Nah, man, it’s GOTTA be Hanley Ramirez”

“You’re crazy”

“Nah, you’re crazy”

Does the above diaglouge sound like a debate you and your buddy have had? No? Okay, well it a debate some writers and I recently had. So let’s take a deep look at the two and see who is the best baseball player in the Sunshine state.

Now, considering the two play different positions and play in different leagues, it makes a straight up comparison tough. But hopefully we can find an answer in the numbers, so lets see.

Hanley Ramirez: 660 G, 2934 PA, .315/.386/.527/.395wOBA/144wRC+ with 167 SB (77%)

Evan Longoria: 321 G, 1363 PA, .283/.360/.536/.382wOBA/137wRC+ with 23 SB (92%)

Offensively, Hanley has the edge. From 2007-2009 he posted three consecutive seasons of 150+ wRC+. That is insane- especially once you remember he is a shortstop. At this rate, he could go down as the best offensive shortstop in the history of the game.  Longoria is no slouch either though and is having a better 2010 in a harder division and league. In the end,  Hanley tops him in BA, OBP, wOBA, and wRC+. He also poses a threat on the bases. While a SB% of 77% isn’t anything to write home about, Hanley is capable of swiping 30+ bags in a season.

Offensive Edge: Hanley Ramirez

The next facet of the game is defense. Obviously shortstop is a harder position to play, but Hanley is simply average while Longoria is a monster. Going back to 2008, which spans close to 3000 innings, Hanley has had a UZR/150 right around 0. His +/- has been in the same range as well. Meanwhile, Longoria has arguably been the best defensive third baseman in baseball, and has a 16.4 UZR/150 dating back to 2008. Sure shortstop is harder, but Longoria gives you so much more value with his golden leather.

Defensive Edge: Evan Longoria

Now lets put it all together. One way to do this is with WAR. Using fangraphs, Hanley has already compiled 25.6 WAR in his career (164 batting runs, -30.8 defensive runs). His WAR/700 is 6.1. Evan Longoria has a career WAR of 14.5 (62.7 batting runs, 32.3 defensive runs) with a WAR/700 of 7.5.

Longo comes out on top because of his superior defense. But lets look deeper using Rally’s WAR which can be used to see how good a player is at everything.

Hanley Ramirez: 135 Bat Runs, 18 Bsr, 6 GIDP, 5 ROE, -13 TZ, 1 ifDP, 28 Pos Adj, 251 RAR, 25.5 WAR, 6.5 WAR/700

Evan Longoria: 33 Bat Runs, 5 Bsr, -5 GIDP, 2 ROE, 25 TZ, 2 ifDP, 3 Pos Adj, 104 RAR, 10.4 WAR, 6.3 WAR/700

Here Hanley edges Longoria. Offensively, we see his dominance. He is a straight up better hitter who can avoid DP, force errors, and is a better baserunner. But again, we see that Longoria is SOOOOOOOO much better defensively.

Verdict: Evan Longoria

This battle royale was extremely, extremely, extrememly close. Hanley is a better hitter. And is a better hitter at a tougher position. But Longoria is a fantastic hitter as well. What separates them is the glovework. Although Hanley is a decent fielder compared to his first couple seasons, Longoria is the definition of a Gold Glover. Using fangraphs WAR, Longo’s WAR/700 was over a run better than Hanley. When using Rally’s WAR, Han-Ram came out on top, but by the slimment margins. Give me Longoria.

This could go either way, depending on how much weight you put in the fact Hanley is a shortstop. But I’ll take Longoria- especially if outside factors were taken into consideration such as age and salary.

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