Cleveland Indians: Could Jose Ramirez be in the Home Run Derby?

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez
Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Could Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez be in the Home Run Derby?

The All-Star festivities are still a little over a month away, but the Cleveland Indians might have someone representing the club in more than just the All-Star Game in Colorado. Despite an up-and-down start to the year, Jose Ramirez is still among some of the top players on the home run list for the American League.

With two home runs in the last six games, Ramirez is now tied for sixth in the American League for the statistic with a team-leading 14 home runs. That mark is also tied for ninth in all of baseball.

Most of the batters on the list ahead of Jose Ramirez have had their shot in the Derby in the past, whether it be Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr. or Aaron Judge. However, there’s also some above him that will be fan favorites if they agree to participate, like Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. The key is agreeing to participate.

Players obviously can pass on the opportunity, and some fans might like that idea for Ramirez since he passed on the opportunity in 2018. It’s not uncommon for players who partake to struggle to find their swing in the second half. Trying to hit home runs can easily mess with a batter’s swing which could deter players and club’s alike.

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With last season not having a Home Run Derby, the last one was actually hosted in Cleveland during the 2019 All-Star Weekend. The Tribe did have one representative, being Carlos Santana, and he didn’t perform too well. Santana logged just 13 home runs in the first round, tied for the fewest in any round with Oakland’s Matt Chapman. Santana was eliminated by Pete Alonso, who went on to win the Derby.

The poor showing by Santana could hurt the chances of any member of the Cleveland Indians being a participant. Before Santana, the last Tribe player to compete was Grady Sizemore in 2008 when the New York Yankees hosted. Like Santana, Sizemore struggled and hit just six home runs in the first round and was eliminated.

Before that, you have to go back to 1998 when Jim Thome blasted 17 home runs, the second-most behind only Ken Griffey Jr.. That also served as the last time the Colorado Rockies and Coors Field hosted.

Given the last couple representatives of the Cleveland Indians in the Home Run Derby, it might be a stretch for Jose Ramirez to get his name on the list, but it’s far from impossible. What could help Ramirez’s case is his resume beyond just this season.

Ramirez has won the Silver Slugger award three of the last four seasons and that included hitting 39 home runs during the 2018 season alone. Last year, his 17 home runs finished tied for fourth in the MLB with Tatis and Mike Trout, trailing only Luke Voit, Jose Abreu and Marcell Ozuna. That’s pretty solid company to be around.

In terms of the venue, Ramirez has played just two games at Coors Field over the course of his career. In eight at-bats, he logged two hits with one of them being a solo home run. While it’s a small sample size, he has technically proven that he can hit home runs Colorado.

From a fan perspective, it’s always more fun to watch these type of events when your favorite team is represented. When Cleveland hosted in 2019, I found myself watching nearly every event to see all the Cleveland celebrities on the field, like Thome and Travis Hafner in the softball game. While there aren’t nearly enough spots in the Home Run Derby for every team, Jose Ramirez at least gives the Tribe a strong contender to be included.

Now, this isn’t the first time that Ramirez has been tied to the Home Run Derby. In 2018, his 27 home runs at the All-Star break made him seem like a lock. Then in 2019 when the Tribe hosted it also seemed like he was the favorite to represent the home team. In 2018, he said in an interview that the team decided it wasn’t the right time for him to participate and that he would save his energy for the second-half.

While that same reasoning could be used this year, could the circumstances be different? Could Jose Ramirez finally represent the Cleveland Indians in the Home Run Derby?

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