While their American League all-time best win streak of 22 games may now be a part of baseball canon, the spark plug behind it in Cleveland Indians second baseman, Jose Ramirez is making a strong case for AL MVP.
Ramirez, fresh off of inking a five-year $26 million extension at the start of 2017, Ramirez balled out in hitting .423/.462/.944. Perhaps his most notable performance during “The Streak” was when he tied a MLB record with five extra base hits, which included three doubles and two home runs.
For the season, the 25-year-old Dominican-born All-Star is hitting a career-best .314 with 27 homes and 75 RBI’s with a slash line of .367/.576/.944
What’s scary is that he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his true potential as he had proverbially kicked the door down in announcing his entrance into the AL MVP race. Fifth in batting average behind Houston’s Jose Altuve (.314), Ramirez leads MLB in doubles (50) and XBH with 83, fourth in runs (98), second in total bases (314), slugging percentage (.576), third in on-base plus slugging (.944) and sixth in hits (171).
While he doesn’t have Altuve’s kind of numbers or Mike Trout’s brand or star power, Ramirez has proven to be one of MLB’s toughest outs and most dangerous hitters as he can hit almost any pitch, regardless of count as he is third-best in strikeout percentage (11 percent).
Translation: Ramirez flat our RAKES when at the plate in getting hits, and is nearly impossible to get out.
And if I’m an opposing manager, that should scare the hell of out of me considering the kind of historic roll that the defending AL champions are on, as they appear to be only getting better.
To think that Ramirez hits third in a stacked and potent lineup, that is quickly evoking memories of the formidable ‘95 squad that featured Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Omar Vizquel, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, Ramirez is the lynchpin that lights Cleveland’s offense as he is right between Francisco Lindor, Austin Jackson/Lonnie Chisenhall and in front of three-five sluggers, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce.
If his season-long consistency and recent numbers don’t garner enough AL MVP consideration, then there is a problem with baseball. But my guess is is that Ramirez isn’t concerned about winning an individual award, but the one that Cleveland was so close to last fall in the World Series.
If Cleveland does win the pennant in October, don;t be shocked if Ramirez is one of the big reasons why.