WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Table setters aren't typically all-around threats. But Hanley Ramirez has joined an elite group of National League leadoff hitters who is extremely multi-dimensional.
The 2006 National League Rookie of the Year, Ramirez once again is anchoring the Marlins' leadoff spot. A speedster with emerging power, Ramirez fits a profile that compares favorably to a couple of All-Stars in the Mets' Jose Reyes and the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano.
All three leadoff men can hit the ball out of the park, with Soriano having the most established track record for home runs. And all three can run, with Reyes holding the edge in speed.
"I don't compare myself to no one, I just try to be me, and do what I can do," Ramirez said. "We [Reyes, Ramirez and Soriano] can score some runs, and get on base for the guys hitting behind us."
Still, a look at all three's 2006 numbers shows Ramirez certainly deserves mention with this elite company.
In 2006, Ramirez played in 158 games and batted .292 with 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, 59 RBIs, 119 runs scored, 51 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .353.
Reyes, meanwhile, hit .300 with 30 doubles, 17 triples, 19 home runs, 81 RBIs, 122 runs scored, 64 stolen bases and a .354 on-base percentage in 153 games.
Soriano spent 2006 with Washington, and he batted .277 in 159 games. The center fielder scored 119 runs, drove in 95, and had 41 doubles, two triples, 46 home runs, 41 stolen bases, and a .351 on-base percentage.
As Ramirez keeps developing, he is certainly capable of 25-plus home runs and 60 stolen bases.
"He's a major weapon," general manager Larry Beinfest said. "He can hit the ball out of the park. He can steal a base. He can do a lot of things there. He is not your prototypical leadoff hitter.
"It's an extra dimension that is valuable, leading off and being a power threat. He can change the rhythm and flow of the game, right off the bat."
Ramirez led off Monday's opener with a liner down the right-field line that hopped into the stands for a ground-rule double. He then showed off his speed by stealing third base.
4 for 6, 2 doubles, 2 stolen bases, and 1 RBI. Heck of a game for the young star.
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