In 2015, Hanley Ramirez tried to become a left fielder. It didn’t work.

That season, Ramirez arrived at spring training looking like an NFL linebacker, and he treated baseballs like a linebacker crushing a running back in the early going. He hit 10 homers in April, tying a Boston Red Sox record for most home runs through April 30.

Then he had a collision with a wall while trying to catch a ball in left at Fenway Park. He would hit only nine homers the rest of the season. Sox fans spent the offseason figuring out ways the team could get rid of him and the remaining three years on his contract.

Dave Dombrowski, Boston’s president of baseball operations, undoubtedly would’ve jumped at the right deal to move Ramirez. That deal never came. So the decision was made to move him to first base.

That move has been one of the great success stories of 2016. He has made the transition to first base better than most anticipated, with just three errors and a fielding percentage of .995.

On Sunday, he wasn’t at first. He was the designated hitter as David Ortiz got a much-needed day off. Ramirez delivered as the Big Papi fill-in for the day, crushing a home run as the Sox held on to beat the Twins 8-7 to salvage a split of the four-game series.

Is Ramirez the DH of the future? As we all know, Ortiz is retiring after the season.

“You got more chance to work in the cage, look at videos, see what happened in the last at-bat, why you missed that pitch and what you’ve been doing wrong,” Ramirez said after the win. “You only have to focus on one thing, just hitting. At first, you have to play offense and defense. But it doesn’t make any difference to me.”

After a two-hit day, it was easy to speculate on Ramirez’s potential move to DH. He was asked about that on his first day at training camp this spring. At that time, no one thought he could become an above-average defensive player at first.

“What if I win the Gold Glove?” Ramirez replied.

We thought he was joking. He probably was, but he might just be among the Gold Glove finalists at first base in the American League.

Not everyone is cut out to be a full-time DH. It seems easier – just take four or five at-bats a game and relax – but many players can’t handle the down time in between the at-bats.

Hanley can, and his manager knows it.

“He has the mental capacity and the capability of staying focused at-bat to at-bat,” John Farrell said on Sunday. “Some guys, you put them in the DH hole, it’s out of their comfort zone where they’re in the game defensively. He’s able to stay fresh with each and every at-bat he’s there.”

Not many fans thought we’d be talking about the mental capacity of Ramirez at this point of the season … at least not in a positive light. Yet here we are, with Ramirez getting it done at the plate and in the field.

If the Red Sox are going to make any sort of deep run in the playoffs – still a very big if considering the pitching issues that continue to pop up far too regularly – the Sox are going to need consistent middle-of-the-lineup power from both sides of the plate. Ortiz has given them that all year. If Ramirez can provide the right-handed power behind Ortiz, this team will score enough runs to overcome any pitching deficiencies.

Getting above-average defense, especially from first base, is an unexpected bonus.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.