Jose Ramirez: Disciplined Hitter
He’s good, get him.
Are you a high ceiling chaser, or do you prefer the insurance policy that a high floor brings to the table? Do 40 bomb sluggers tug at your heart-strings, or do speed demons steal your show? Do you like winning, or are you a loveable loser? Do you prefer pizza or kale?
Well, if you’re a high ceiling, 40 bomb loving, winner who crushes pizza, you my friend are a lot like me. But with that said, Jose Ramirez has been an unlikely new star in my dynasty team’s clubhouse, so proper homage must be paid.
There are oh so many ways to dig deep but first let’s state the obvious, here is what Ramirez has done so far.
The only thing Ramirez hasn’t done is hit homers, and at 5’9”, 180 lbs. he isn’t the most likely guy to grow into a ton of pop. That’s basically the extent of the bad side of this piece, now for the positive.
Ramirez is realizing potential that scouts claimed he had years ago. In 2013 MLB.com threw a 60 grade on both his hit tool and speed, and ranked him 13th in their farm system. That same year Baseball America ranked him 9th, and lauded his hit tool and speed as well, and praised his very advanced plate discipline.
This commendation turned out to be more than scouting the stat line (although he did put up a .304/.355/.411 line over 1500+ minor league PA). In his first full season in the MLB he’s taken full advantage of his skill set. Here is how he’s stroked the ball this year.
|Jose Ramirez||League Average|
So Ramirez is hitting many more line drives than the average player, hitting the ball to all fields (not shiftable), limiting soft contact, and avoiding the dreaded infield fly. Essentially this is a batted ball profile that will navigate away from risk at all costs, and it seems very familiar to Melky Cabrera or 2013 Matt Carpenter (the 126 run season), albeit Ramirez is much smaller than both of them, so the power is capped. But wait, there is more. On top of him hitting everything in sight, more importantly he is giving reason to expect continued production.
|Jose Ramirez||League Average|
Here is the crux of Ramirez’s production. He flaunts both a good eye, and exceptional contact ability. For perspective his contact rate is 9th in baseball, his contact on balls outside of the zone is the best in baseball, and in the zone he is a more pedestrian 37th out of 147 qualified hitters. Again for comparison, these numbers are very similar to another diminutive hitter, Mookie Betts. If the contact on balls chased is concerning to you, him chasing at a well below league average rate should soothe your nerves.
This data is wonderful, and helps explain his breakout well, but the real question to answer on a dynasty website is, “will he repeat this?” The lazy answer is no, but that’s not really a problem. In all likelihood, he was either an incredibly cheap draft pick, or a free agent, while being the #47 player on ESPN’s player rater, so your return on investment has been huge. The ugly and annoying truth is that all of those stats don’t fully explain his .338 babip, which is higher than he’s ever had before in the majors or high minors. But the good news is that if you do some quick and dirty math, slicing off 30 points of babip, drops him down to roughly a .280 hitter, and his power and speed numbers shouldn’t take a hit with that kind of babip drop. So in his 24-year-old season I’m comfortable betting he drops from being a top 50 player to top 100 player production wise. This would be nice for a standard 3B, but he’ll also be able to be an OF next year, and in some leagues will also add 2B and SS eligibility.
So Ramirez likely won’t be the star he was this season, but I’m comfortable projecting he’ll be a valuable cog in fantasy, and players like this are the perfect way to supplement the impact players you trade for and drafted in the early rounds.