By Kris Karlen (@KrisKarlen8)
August 9, 2013
“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
So is the undervalued dynasty player. Wilson Ramos was just starting to be discovered, as he put up a solid rookie campaign in 2011. Many jumped at the chance to draft him last year, believing they found great value, but their plans were soon derailed by an ACL tear that cut his season short after 25 games. A nagging hammy this year, and a platoon with Kurt Suzuki early on further seemed to set him adrift in most fantasy leagues. Why? The injuries? V-Mart, Posey, no one seemed to worry about that. Is it because his name reminds people of a girl band from the early 90s? Doubtful, as no one should remember them. You know what, it shouldn’t matter why. All that matters is that you see what he is, what he can be, and you use it to your advantage.
In 2011, Ramos took control of the backstop duties in Washington and he didn’t disappoint, hitting 15 bombs and plating 52. He also stacked a triple slash of .267/.334/.445. Not bad for a 23 year old catcher. He did all of this in 435 plate appearances, showing good discipline along the way (76 K/38 BB). Many expected this to just be the start. Unfortunately, as I mentioned previously, hes been plagued by injuries ever since. Hes only had 234 plate appearances the last two seasons, hitting 10 long balls and driving in 34. He has slightly increased his average while maintaining good patience at the dish.
He is the catcher for a young pitching staff that he knows well. With Suzuki destined for free agency, and no one in the minors pushing him, he seems destined for the majority of playing time moving forward. He has a canon of an arm, and while his glove work is average at best, its good enough to retain the gig. He hits in a lineup that should be potent for years to come, allowing him to see good pitches and come up with RISP.
So, besides the injury concerns, whats not to like? No, he wont steal you bases. If you’re counting on steals from your catcher though you have larger issues. He should be able to sustain a .275 average with a decent OBP, knocking 20-25 balls over the fence for a few years, driving in a decent amount of runs as well. Oh yeah, he’s still just 25 years old (26 on Saturday). He quite feasibly hasn’t reached his peak years yet.
In looking through the catcher rankings here from the pre-season, one can see Bret wasn’t all that high on him. Understandable, coming off the injury, and he had players like Jesus Montero, Yasmani Grandal, Derek Norris and J.P. Arencibia ahead of him. Any names on there you would take over Ramos now? I wouldn’t. Some may have more power, some may have more speed, but not one has had a better all around season in the majors than Ramos in their career.
So while others in your league pay top dollar for the next rising star, years away from producing, or trade away assets for a top rated guy, do yourself a favor and target Ramos. In one league I am in he was just dealt for Jose Cisnero straight up. If his owner values him that little in your league, make an offer, and watch this weed bloom into a flower that feeds most of your categories and makes you smile at the end of the season.