Why Harold Ramirez is the Cleveland Indians best first-half call-up
The Cleveland Indians have called up multiple players in the first three months in an effort to improve performance, fill-in for injuries and just keep pace in the American League Central. Like most Major League Baseball seasons, the results are mixed.
Of the group that was called up, the one who will contribute the most in the second half is Outfielder Harold Ramirez. Since joining the Indians in an early May as a call-up, Ramirez has carved out his own niche and proved to be of critical importance for the Cleveland Indians potential playoff push.
In the first half of the season, there were red-hot Triple-A call-ups like Owen Miller who looked to continue that, but cooled off fast once in the bigs. Currently the majority of the Indians starting rotation is made up of young and talented call-ups to fill for injuries. Yet, in the mixed results there are a few bright spots that could give the Indians an added boost during the second half.
So, who is the best first-half call-up that will pay dividends in the second half of the season? Deciding was difficult, as there have been some strong showings from the likes of Bobby Bradley, Blake Parker, and Nick Sandlin. All three appear to have staying power and creating clear positions of use moving forward.
Filling up the roster with players who contribute in a clear manner is the goal isn’t it? Not all call-ups will become stars in their first two weeks, but if the Cleveland Indians roster fills out with clear assets with specific roles, then this becomes a team that will be clicking during the stretch run of the season, and hopefully beyond.
Parker and Sandlin should stick as middle relievers, even offering support should James Karinchak or Emmanuel Clase get injured. Bobby Bradley has tapped into his power potential in the big leagues, hitting nine home runs since his late May call-up. The season-ending injury to Josh Naylor along with the trade of former first baseman Jake Bauers means Bradley is the primary first baseman for the Indians moving forward and held big consideration for this post.
However, the best call-up from the first-half is outfielder Harold Ramirez. Ramirez was called up in early May and plugged into the platoon centerfield and left field rotations. Since his call-up Ramirez has played all three outfield positions, and become a fixture on the lineup card. He’s hitting a respectable .277 batting average with 22 runs scored, six home runs, 22 RBI and a .785 OPS.
Those numbers aren’t All-Star worthy, but for an Indians team that is currently cycling thru re-treads in the outfield like Bradley Zimmer and Oscar Mercado to deal with injuries, it does mean Ramirez may be the best offensive outfielder on the roster.
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The good news for the second half is that the injuries to Jordan Luplow and possibly Eddie Rosario will pass. Ramirez has solidified himself as a starting outfielder, and at worst, a key reserve outfielder if the Indians make a trade.
He offers the versatility Terry Francona relishes, being able to play all three outfield positions and hit in multiple spots along the lineup. In doing so, he’s resolved at least one of the platoons the Indians opened the season with, becoming a fixture in the lineup.
While it’s a negative slant, there is key consideration to note that should the Indians start to significantly slip in the standings, Ramirez has positioned himself as a sneaky strong trade asset for other contenders.
The runner-up for me was Bobby Bradley, who like Ramirez has ended a platoon coming out of spring training with strong play. Bradley will continue as the Tribe’s primary first baseman heading into the second half. However, Ramirez wins this debate having performed a bit longer in the first-half to stand on firmer ground.
The first half of the season brought fans their first glimpses of younger talent like Owen Miller, Ernie Clement, Eli Morgan, and Jean Carlos Mejia. While exciting, the need due to injury has forced their arrivals potentially a bit too early to say they’ll be fixtures during the second-half playoff run. More likely, if we see them for a significant portion of the second-half its due to injuries or the team dropping out of any playoff race.
Who do you think was the first half call up, that will mean the most in the second-half of the season?