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The Five Tools

How good is Manny Ramirez (Bos)? In a game against Detroit on June 5, the Tigers intentionally walked Manny an American League record-tying four times after he homered and singled in his first two trips to the plate.  And the four intentional walks came from three different pitchers.  Fellas, what are you scared of?  Or are you?  Maybe you

Manny Ramirez

SHOULD put Manny on, you have a better chance of getting him out that way.

Five Tools
Base Running
Hitting for Average
Hitting for Power

In the usual Manny fashion, there's always a paradox. Don't get me wrong.  Manny is a great hitter for both average and power.  But I can't buy the argument that he dominates the game. 

He's below average as a fielder.  He's a terrible base runner, having a putrid stolen base success ratio of 53% (28/52). When he played for Cleveland, the first base coaches used to glue him to the bag - not that it always helped since he was caught leaning or daydreaming off of the base regularly. 

Base running is an important part of the game which is very often overlooked since it doesn't win games.  It WILL lose games, though. Take a peek at Larry Walker (Col) or Barry Bonds (SF).  Walker has over 200 steals and reaches 76% (201/263) of the time.  Of course, both are lifetime National Leaguers - which starts a whole other debate - but both are clearly five tool players.

Atlanta Braves Third baseman Chipper Jones

Or, look at the stolen base success ratio of some other MVP-type players:

SS Nomar Garciaparra (Bos) - 74% (58/78)

3B Chipper Jones (Atl) - 78% (100/128)

1B Mo Vaughn (Ana) - 63% (30/47)

Even Big Mac, Mark McGwire` is at 60% (12/8). Maybe it's a case of knowing you

can't run. The exceptions are 1B Jason Giambi (Oak) and Frank Thomas.  In any case, Manny is definitely lacking in the base running department.  Throwing is an area that Manny has greatly improved.  As a younger player, his throws to the cutoff man were as accurate as a Rick Ankiel fastball.

In 60 games, Ramirez has only played the field FOUR TIMES.  Manny, you might SAY you want to win the AL MVP but playing the field is how you win.  When I brought up this notion, a friend mentioned two-time MVP slugger Frank Thomas (CWS).  Check the record.  Thomas still played the field in the years he won the MVP (1993: 1B 150 of 153 games; and 1994: 99/113). Frankly, Manny Ramirez does not have the five tools (sorry for the pun).

The moral of the story is that you have to play the ENTIRE game - not pieces - to be truly great.


No sooner did I write about good guy SP John Smoltz's (Atl) comeback, then he goes back onto the shelf due to inflammation in his right elbow and shoulder. The move was made retroactive to June 10. Smoltz started against the Yankees last Saturday and left after three innings complaining of a sore back.  He allowed four runs and six hits in the abbreviated start.  Smoltz made five solid starts since returning from Tommy John surgery in his elbow.  He has inflammation in his right elbow and shoulder.

Are you ready for some football?

Spring training camps are just about here, football fans.  Are you ready for another season of fantasy football?  Find out everything you need to know.  Check out this weeks "Fantasy Football Tutorial".

Locker Room is written by Michael Skordeles

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