So far through five games into the 2021 season, Jose Ramirez has been the anchor of the Cleveland Indians lineup. Ramirez, who is currently in the midst of his peak at 28 years old, made his debut with Cleveland back in 2013.Since that time, he has become a valuable part of the organization.
To reward his contributions on and off the field, the Indians locked him up to an extension prior to the 2017 season. That extension runs through the end of this season and includes two team options for 2022 and 2023. The 2022 option is valued at $11 million, while the 2023 option is worth $13 million.
To date, Ramirez has earned just north of $25 million over his big league tenure with the club. For a small-market team such as the Cleveland Indians, he has really provided a lot of value. He proved his worth once again on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals by hitting two home runs and recording four RBI.
While he is set to potentially become a free agent after this season, he is making an argument for himself to receive another contract extension from the Indians. Although, it’s hard to say if that will end up happening or not given the current state of the Indians. Regardless, it’s hard to overlook the contributions he has made at the plate.
Jose Ramirez Keeps Proving His Worth
While it’s still very early in the 2021 regular season, Ramirez continues to build off what was a highly successful 2020 campaign. The statistics below were compiled by High Heat Stats on Twitter.
José Ramírez, last 162 games (including today):
103 runs scored@Indians 96-66 in those games
— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) April 7, 2021
It’s difficult to find players around baseball that put up similar numbers to the ones listed above and who are earning what Jose Ramirez is. With Francisco Lindor out of the equation, the Indians are relying on Ramirez more than ever now. That’s especially true considering some of the shortfalls they have in their lineup.
After all, the Indians concluded last season with one of the worst OPS values (.689) in all of baseball. In many ways, both Lindor and Ramirez carried the Indians offense. However, as illustrated above, Ramirez is the one that has and continues to provide the most offensive value for Cleveland.
As mentioned previously, it is still very early in the 2021 season and therefore it is hard to analyze some stats. Although, with the track record Ramirez has built up over his big league career, there’s a very good chance that he continues to make noise in the Indians lineup the rest of the year. At the conclusion of play Wednesday, Ramirez has recorded a total of 20 at bats. Over that sample, he is hitting .350/.381/.700 with seven hits, one double, two home runs, four RBI, one walk and two strikeouts.
Granted, the Indians started the season with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers and are in the middle of a series against the aforementioned Royals. However, due to a high amount of plate discipline, Ramirez has really started to become the anchor in the Indians batting order.
Jose Ramirez Compared to the Rest of Baseball
It has not been just 2020 and this year that Jose Ramirez has been an anchor in the lineup either. In fact, if you ignore recency biased and look at data compiled by FanGraphs from the start of the 2018 regular season until now, things become even more impressive for the Indians third baseman.
Over that sample, Ramirez has 79 home runs, which ranks 11th overall among all qualified players in baseball. On top of that, he has 234 RBI, which puts him in a tie for 13th overall with Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels! As any baseball fan knows, Trout certainly gets a lot more attention and rightfully so. Although, Ramirez has been just as productive at the plate at least in that category.
Diving deeper, since the start of the 2018 campaign, he has a cumulative Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) of .334. Compared to the rest of baseball, that puts him 13th overall in that category. In addition, it’s hard to overlook his Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) value of 135. Among third baseman alone, he ranks fourth overall in wRC+.
It’s simply hard to quantify just how good Jose Ramirez has been over that sample and continues to be for the Cleveland Indians. It will be interesting to watch him over the remainder of this year and see where he ends up ranking in those categories at the conclusion of the regular season. Granted, he will need to stay healthy, but based on track record alone there is a very good chance that ends up happening.
While the offense may have some shortfalls overall for the Indians, Jose Ramirez certainly continues to be the anchor in the batting order that Cleveland craves.
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