Jose Ramirez has been batting third for the Cleveland Guardians for most of his career. This is why it was so intriguing to see Terry Francona make a change at the top of the order for Cleveland's first game in Cincinnati. For the first time since the 2020 season, Ramirez was second in the order, and that must continue.
The ideology that found Ramirez entrenched as the third batter in the order is very much outdated. A high on-base guy (Steven Kwan) followed by someone making a lot of contact (Amed Rosario) used to be the standard to set a lineup. This is no longer the case, leading to frustration regarding the lineup's construction.
With Rosario now in Los Angeles, it freed up the second spot in the order. Various attempts were made to replace his spot to keep Ramirez batting third, but it appears that Francona has now accepted that the best spot for him is second.
Not only will this result in more at-bats for Ramirez, it will be in much better situations. There have been too many occasions featuring two outs and the bases empty or an empty base with a man on. This resulted in a team pitching around Ramirez as they would rather face the man behind him in the order.
In theory, having singles hitters occupy the first two spots in the lineup provides the three and four hitters the opportunity to drive them in. This is an outdated practice that has mostly gone the way of the Dodo. Splitting them up with someone with power, such as Jose, is the way to go.
Look around the league at the number two hitter in other teams' lineups. Shohei Ohtani, Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, and Freddie Freeman are just a few examples who occupy the second spot in the lineup. It is safe to say that Ramirez is much more like this group of players than Rosario, Andres Gimenez, or any other option that has batted in front of him over the past couple of seasons.
There is another benefit besides splitting up singles hitters and putting power in the second spot in the order. It also splits up the left-handed batters in the Guardians' lineup. Instead of Kwan-Gimenez, they can now go Kwan-Ramirez-Gimenez. Josh Naylor can take over the third spot in the order upon his return from injury, with Gimenez possibly being pushed back to fifth in the lineup.
If the Guardians want to get the most out of Ramirez and hopefully boost their struggling offense, the second spot in the order is where he should remain.