Indians Third Baseman Jose Ramirez Continues to Heat Up
The American League Most Valuable Player Award discussion is fluid. There are the obvious favorites for the award such as D.J. LeMahieu of the New York Yankees, Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins, and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. However, there is one player on the Cleveland Indians roster who is quietly making a late case for winning the award.
That player is Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez. Ramirez has been on a tear over the last week and could have easily won American League Player of the Week honors this week. The aforementioned LeMahieu ended up winning instead.
Ramirez, who just celebrated his 28th birthday last Friday, is a valuable part of the Indians’ lineup. When he is healthy and performing at a high offensive level, it makes the Indians that much more of a threat to opposing teams. Combine Ramirez with shortstop Francisco Lindor, first baseman Carlos Santana, and leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez and the Indians have a potent top four within their starting lineup.
2018 Season Recap for Jose Ramirez
If you recall, the third baseman was in the running for the AL MVP Award during the first half of the 2018 regular season. During that span, Ramirez was hitting at a .302/.401/.628 clip with 108 hits, 29 home runs, and 70 RBI. However, his odds of winning the award quickly diminished during the later part of the season.
From the All-Star Break forward in 2018, Ramirez had a .218/.366/.427 slash line. He recorded nearly two times fewer hits (48) and only had 10 home runs over 63 games. In a sense, the same has held true for the Indians slugger so far this year.
Tale of Two Seasons
Given the rarity of this season (60 games in total), some hitters across baseball have had a very challenging time settling into a routine and finding their groove. Ramirez is no exception to that. During August alone, Ramirez hit .202/.296/.404 over 109 at-bats. Over that span, he recorded 26 strikeouts which represent almost 75% of the total 40 strikeouts that he has on the season.
However, so far through September, Ramirez has moved up another level. Through 17 games this month, he has hit at a .381/.443/.873 clip with 24 hits, nine home runs, 19 RBI, seven walks, and seven strikeouts. If you add his on-base and slugging percentages together, it equals out to be 1.316! That alone puts Jose Ramirez at the top of the American League. The next closet player is Jared Walsh of the aforementioned Los Angeles Angels.
If you look at both leagues combined, Ramirez now ranks ahead of Freddie Freeman — who led baseball in OPS entering play on Tuesday. The Atlanta Braves first baseman currently has a 1.278 OPS so far this month. Quite impressive company to be around and a clear case for why Ramirez should be heavily considered for the AL MVP Award.
Recent Hot Streak for Jose Ramirez
Furthermore, over the last seven games, Ramirez has recorded a total of 29 at-bats. Over that sample, he has 13 hits, five home runs, 13 RBI, one walk, and two strikeouts. Combine that together and it equals out to a slash line of .448/.467/1.069.
Just think what Ramirez would be able to do over the span of a regular 162-game season at this level! In a normal season, we would just be approaching the end of May. As the weather gets warmer in June and July, offensive production typically goes up. It’s fair to say that would probably be the case for the Indians’ third baseman.
The Indians might be a small market team and currently in third place in the American League Central. However, that shouldn’t take away from the contributions that Ramirez has made at the plate or what he has done to carry the offense, especially over the last seven games. Given that he is right in the midst of his peak at 28 years old, there’s a chance that he could even get better and carry this production into next season. Only time will tell what type of numbers he will put up next year as a core part of the Indians roster.
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