Cleveland Guardians waiting on Jose Ramirez to heat up at the plate

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians are 16-6 and possess one of the best records in all of baseball as the first full month of the season draws to a close. But you would not know it based on the performance of All-Star third baseman and perennial MVP candidate Jose Ramirez. 

Ramirez has gotten off to a slow start at the plate, but that has not resulted in the Guardians losing games at a rapid rate like in previous seasons. With a .239/.253/.402 slash line paired with an OPS+ of just 91, this is hardly the start anyone envisioned for Ramirez. Eight of Ramirez's 22 hits this season have gone for extra bases, which has definitely helped his cause in the RBI department, as his 18 runs driven in rank second behind only Josh Naylor's 20. 

Even though his ability to drive in runs has not really been impacted, everyone knows what Ramirez is capable of, and it is a lot more than this. Ramirez's slash line is notably down from his career averages of .278/.353/.498, while his current OPS+ sits 37 points below his average mark (128). 

This is not to sound the alarms or anything on Ramirez, as he has gotten off to similar sluggish starts in previous seasons. However, as Ramirez is 31-years-old currently, there is a little more concern about his ability to bust out of it compared to when he was on the other side of 30. Once a player crosses the threshold of age 30, there is usually some sort of dropoff in skill that happens at some point. There are times that a player is not really affected until they are close to 40, while there are also times when over 30 is when the clock runs out on their productive years. 

As long as other Guardians hitters are able to produce at the plate in the manner they have so far, there should remain a strong belief that Ramirez can perform like his usual self. If a pitcher is not able to pitch around Ramirez to get to other players, it will result in better pitches to hit and more damage being done off the bat of one of the game's best players. It is only a matter of time before Ramirez gets back to the MVP-caliber form everyone is used to seeing from him. Regarding the if/when scenario, it truly is when it happens rather than if it happens. Ramirez has proven to be an elite bat in the past, and that should be expected to emerge fairly quickly and be a driving force for the Guardians on their quest to prove that 2023 was not an accurate indicator of their talent level.