After a slow start, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez is putting his name into the thick of the MVP talk of the American League.
The beginning of the season was more than underwhelming for Jose Ramirez, but his play of late has shifted the script completely and put him into the MVP conversation for the AL. Ramirez has finished third in the MVP voting twice, happening in both 2017 and 2018, but this might be the year that Ramirez gets over the hump.
During the month of August, Ramirez struggled at the plate, slashing just .202/.296/.404 for the month. The power was still there for him, clubbing five home runs and logging 17 RBI, but the average was an obvious concern along with his 26 strikeouts.
However, Ramirez quickly turned it around in September, batting .381/.443/.873 to get his season numbers up to .290/.376/.595. He also has already knocked nine home runs this month and tallied 19 RBI while striking out just seven times.
Moving back to the MVP, the award should be given to a player this is the most valuable to their team, and for Ramirez that case is becoming more clear. Ramirez’s in-game success has been a near direct relation to the team’s success each game.
In games that the Tribe have won this year, Ramirez is slashing .351/.456/.798 with 14 of his home runs and 35 RBI coming in those games.
Meanwhile, in losses Ramirez’s stat line has been a much different story. When the Indians come up short, he is slashing just .209/.258/.326 with only two home runs and six RBI.
Another aspect of being the league’s most valuable player is not being replaceable, in other words, having a high WAR. Offensively, Ramirez is currently sixth in all of baseball for WAR at 2.4, ahead of fellow MVP candidate Jose Abreu.
Over the last four weeks (28 days for the stat), Ramirez has been off the charts when it comes to the plate, slashing .368/.439/.805 over that span. He’s also been able to log 11 of his 16 home runs and 23 of his 41 RBI.
What about the other contenders? We’ll begin with the aforementioned Abreu who has had an impressive year, leading the American League in six offensive categories. One of those categories is RBI with 55 while also having registered 55 home runs on the year. Abreu has been brilliant for the White Sox this year, sustaining his play across the season, but his WAR isn’t as high as Ramirez’s.
With so many big bats in the lineup, the Chicago White Sox haven’t relied on Jose Abreu the way the Cleveland Indians have with Jose Ramirez. Although Abreu has been better in the Sox’s wins than their losses, the difference isn’t nearly as drastic as Ramirez’s, showing that Ramirez has been the more valuable player.
Another player on the MVP radar is one that is every year, Mike Trout. Surprisingly, Trout and Ramirez have very similar stat lines this year with the same number of home runs, close averages and only a few RBI difference. However, the success of the team’s could come into play here.
The Angels have struggled mightily this year, so no matter how great Trout has been, he hasn’t lifted his team to the level needed. Now, Ramirez has had help from teammates to get the Cleveland Indians to where they are, but Ramirez’s play has definitely played a large role this year.
Another interesting thing to consider in the case of Ramirez is that he might not be the only member of the Indians to be in the MVP race. Shane Bieber has all but locked up the Cy Young Award this year, but the MVP isn’t out of reach either. It’s not often that a pitcher claims the MVP, but the year that Bieber has had at least warrants the thought.
There’s still about a week left in the season, but Jose Ramirez has clearly proven that he is the most valuable player in the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse. His play each game has played into whether or not the team ends up winning that game, something that can’t be said for all of the MVP candidates this year. If the award is truly given to the player that is most valuable to their team, then Ramirez should without a doubt be this year’s recipient.