By: Sam Gagliardi
It was only three years ago that Jose Ramirez was the outcast. Playing shortstop for the Indians everyone, including Ramirez, knew he was simply a placeholder at the position for Francisco Lindor, at the time the Indians no. 1 minor league prospect. Ramirez was struggling to hit .200 and the Indians front office was perplexed on what to do with him. The team would eventually bring up Lindor, knocking Ramirez back down to the minor leagues.
But the team never game up on him. He was only 22 years old at the time and they still believed his career .300 hitting average in the minors would eventually translate to the majors. The following year, while the Indians waited for Michael Brantley to return from injury, Ramirez started the first chunk of the season playing left field and playing it well. He would move all around the field that year, but he finally found a home playing 3rd base. He would end the year hitting .312 while helping the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series. But that was only the beginning of a Hall of Fame career.
That's right, a Hall of Fame — trajectory — career for Jose Ramirez. In 2017 all he did was sock 29 (!) Home run, 56 doubles and drive in 83 runs, all while hitting .318, culminating in a much deserved All-Star start at 3rd base for the American League. So that year surely must have been peak Ramirez, no? Guess again. This year Ramirez — at a compact 5 foot 9 — is leading the entire major leagues with 23 home runs, 5th in RBI with 52, while also 5th in total run scores. Oh and he’s batting .296, has 51 walks to only 40 strikeouts, a .403 OBP% and 12 stolen bases, en route to a second straight start at 3rd base for the AL.
Ramirez has become such a vaunted hitter, in the month of June alone, he has accumulated 7 intentional walks, which has contributed to Ramirez reaching base in 31 consecutive games. Ramirez, if he continues to produce similar years, will eventually win an MVP award, after the greatness of Mike Trout becomes too routine. If I had to compare Ramirez to a similar Hall of Fame candidate, he is a — much shorter — but a much more defensively versatile Miguel Cabrera. A feared hitter in his prime who could hit to all fields, rarely struck out, and hit for effortless power, and yes even at 5-9, when you are on-pace to hit 48 home runs, Ramirez hits for effortless power. Punching his ticket into Cooperstown is a long ways away, but Ramirez is finally making a name for himself now, still with a long career ahead of him.
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