The Cleveland Indians just missed out on a wild-card play-in game in 2019. To take the next step within the AL Central, they’ll have to gain ground on the defending division champs, the Minnesota Twins. That’s the only way they’ll have a clear shot at the postseason. One of their better bats in their lineup is Jose Ramirez.
In 2018, Ramirez went off with huge numbers (39 HRs, 105 RB, and 34 SBs). A regression should’ve been expected in 2019 and it did come. Ramirez slumped over the first 34 games of the year (.197 with two HRs, nine RBI, and nine SBs over 127 at-bats). To make matters worse, he missed a month later in the season thanks to needing surgery on a broken right hand. He rebounded in early July and his bat came alive over 43 games (.326 with 15 HRs, 45 RBI, and six SBs over 172 at-bats). Ramirez continues to have a strong strikeout rate (13.7), but he didn’t live up to his own standard with his elite walk rate of 2018 (15.2 – 9.6 in 2019).
In consecutive seasons, his contact batting average (.301 and .313) limited him from hitting for a better average. Ramirez’s swing path leads to many fly-balls in that same two-season span (45.9 and 46.5), so he’s not challenging defenses, often leading to easy outs. Despite the power generated in 2018, he doesn’t have an edge in his hard-hit rate (35.7 – 260th).
Great approach on the basepaths and his steals potential really buoyes his fantasy value. I am hopeful that his batting average could jump, but if that happens, it’ll likely come at the expense of home runs. I’m torn between his price point (ADP 18) and his true, on-the-field value. If you believe in a .300/30/100/30 season, he will be a real draft value and adding an edge in speed, especially in the context of his peers at third base. All considered, Ramirez has a high floor thanks to his value across five categories.
READ MORE: 2020 Cleveland Indians Fantasy Team Preview