Jose Ramirez continues to sit in a horrendous slump that has likely hindered his MVP chances. What can the Cleveland Indians second baseman do to fix things?
If there is one time during the season you want to avoid a slump, it’s the postseason. The Cleveland Indians are hoping that second baseman Jose Ramirez can avoid that slump. Right now Jose Ramirez is in the midst of the worst slump of the season and one of the worst of his career.
In the last week, Ramirez is batting a horrendous .050 equating to just one hit in 20 at-bats. Sure, these are somewhat meaningless games but Jose just hasn’t looked like himself. One can wonder if this should be attributed to Jose changing from third base to second base, but his struggles have gone back further than that.
Since the All-Star break, Ramirez has been average-at-best. His post ASG slash line reads .223/337/.437. That is pretty sub-par for a guy who was putting up MVP-like numbers before the break. When you compare the two timeframes, it looks like stats from two completely different players.
The root of problems for Ramirez in the past has been changing his swing. Lately, it looks like Ramirez is trying to elevate every pitch, resulting in a lot of pop-ups along with whiffs. Strikeouts were never a problem for JRam much of this season so it’s strange to see.
So what needs to change heading into the postseason? The best thing about Jose Ramirez is his ability to utilize every part of the field. Not only does he have 38 homers, but he has a total of 79 XBH’s. He’s also able to steal nearly any time he’s on base. He’s not in the 30-30 club for no reason.
If Ramirez can focus on contact more than elevation, he’s in business. In previous years, Ramirez has been able to distribute the ball fairly evenly. This year he is pulling 50.4 percent of the time per Fangraphs.
One thing that Ramirez can use to his advantage is his ability to walk. Despite his struggles in getting hits, teams have still walked Ramirez seven times in the last week. Ramirez is still dangerous to pitch to, so pitchers will still pitch around him, allowing him to do damage from the base paths.
In turning into one of the best home run hitters in baseball., you can expect one to swing a bit more freely. While his whiff numbers aren’t as bad as the likes of Joey Gallo and Giancarlo Stanton, it’s fair to say his swing is affected by his home run numbers.
We saw this near the end of last year when Ramirez tried his hardest to hit the 30 home run mark. Now it looks like trying to hit 40 or catching up to the likes of J.D. Martinez and Khris Davis has affected JRam.
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There isn’t much need to worry about Jose heading into October. As long as the offense is in rhythm, he should follow suit. But it’s worth keeping an eye on. Ramirez is capable of carrying this offense if they’re slumping. But he can’t do that if he stays in a rut, himself.