The Tribe third-baseman is in the midst of the best season of his young career. What does his historic season mean for the team and how strong is his case for the AL MVP award?
Jose Ramirez is in the midst of a historic season. The Cleveland Indians third-baseman is leading the way for all 3B in All-Star votes. Now All-Star doesn’t mean MVP, and there is a lot of season left. But why not Jose?
He has some pretty significant competition. JD Martinez of the Red Sox, Mike Trout of the Angels, and Jose Altuve of the Astros are all making strong cases of their own. But today we take a quick look of our favorite 3B and his odds.
Contact, walks, and more contact
Not only is Jose Ramirez sending dingers out of the park on what feels like a daily basis, but he’s hitting for power when the ball stays in play. Going into today, Ramirez is the only player in the MLB with 20+ home runs and 20+ doubles right now.
His BABIP of .269 isn’t the best, but he is fourth in baseball in wRC+ with 167 before today’s game. When Ramirez isn’t hitting bombs, he is walking more than anybody. Ramirez’s 1.23 K/BB going into today is second only to Andrelton Simmons and Carlos Santana. As far as MVP contenders go, only Mike Trout has a higher walk percentage.
Then there are the homers; Jose Ramirez is in the thick of the home run race with 22. He, Martinez, and Trout all lead the way for baseball. Jose is just one homer behind the two aforementioned sluggers. And then you look at Ramirez’s OPS going into today, its at 1.000.
You could make the argument that Jose Ramirez is perhaps the best fielder among the candidates. That’s not to discredit Trout and Altuve, but Fangraphs defensive metrics show how valuable Ramirez is at 3B.
His UZR/150 is 12.8, meaning he is close to Gold Glover caliber when it comes to runs saved. Ramirez is the highest 3B on that list and only Trout and Mookie Betts come close when it comes to UZR.
Fielding metrics are always hard to grade but when the numbers show you’re saving runs better than your counterparts, that adds a lot of value to your MVP argument.
Jose Ramirez is slowly turning into one of the leaders of this clubhouse. He has gotten better every year since being called up in 2013. His slugging has increased substantially on a yearly basis, something the team needed someone to answer the call to. He is on pace to shatter his numbers from last year, which was another career year for Ramirez.
Ramirez leads the Indians in most offensive categories this year. Thats saying a lot, as Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Yonder Alonso are all having remarkable seasons at the plate. Ramirez has a fWAR of 4.9 and only Mike Trout is better in that category.
Before I get hate for saying Ramirez should be MVP and is better than the aforementioned players, let me make it clear that’s not what this article is about. This is not to discount Trout or Martinez, I’m simply saying Jose Ramirez deserves consideration. If his incredible season continues, his case will only get stronger.