Ramirez Named American League’s Player of the Month for July
Bob Toth | On 02, Aug 2018
Even a seven-game hitting slump could not slow down Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez during a scorching hot month of July as the Indians’ All-Star third baseman was named the American League’s Player of the Month on Wednesday afternoon.
Ramirez continued his incredible display at the plate with another solid showing in July, keeping his name at the top of the list of AL Most Valuable Player candidates for the 2018 season. The 25-year-old matched a season-high with 25 runs batted in, stole 11 bases in 12 chances (the most swipes in the Majors in the month), and added a healthy .322/.441/.722 slash at the plate for a combined 1.164 OPS.
Ramirez entered July hitting .291/.398/.603 with a 1.000 OPS through his first 80 games. He appeared in 25 games during the month and started at third base for the AL squad in the Midsummer Classic after he was voted into the starting lineup for the second straight season. He would tally hits in 15 of his 25 games in the month, enduring a seven-game hitless stretch over the final two weeks of the month. When he was hitting the ball, they were coming in bunches as he put up a dozen multi-hit games in that span. He had a pair of two-double games and two more two-homer days at the plate on the way to eight two-base hits and eight round-trippers. He put together several mini-streaks of hitting dominance, contributing separate four- and three-game hitting streaks consisting of two-hit games. He opened and closed the month with a pair of multi-hit games as well, amassing five hits in each of those collections of games.
He also drew walks in as many games as he had hits, as he totaled 19 walks for the month over 15 different games while earning a free pass in each of his last nine games of July. He reached base safely in 17 straight games to close out the month (.364/.507/.927 line in that streak with a 1.434 OPS) and only once in his 25 games did he fail to reach base via hit or walk.
With 32 homers at the end of the month, Ramirez was tied with Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the most blasts in the Majors. That total also put him in rare air in Indians history as he became the first Clevelander to hit that many homers prior to the start of August since 2001, when Hall of Famer Jim Thome accomplished the feat.
It was the first Player of the Month Award in Ramirez’s six-year MLB career and followed his selection as the league’s Player of the Week on July 15. He is the second Indians player to be named a Player of the Month this season, following Francisco Lindor’s pick in May. All four AL Players of the Month this season have come from the left side of the infield.
Several other worthy candidates were at play around the AL. Former Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop slashed .360/.356/.700 in 24 games with seven doubles, nine homers, and 19 RBI in a walk-less month. Texas second baseman Rougned Odor slashed .341/.410/.625 in his 24 games with seven doubles, six homers, and 12 RBI while stealing six bases. Tampa first baseman C.J. Cron worked in 22 games while slashing .338/.383/.689 with eight doubles, six homers, and 16 RBI. Oakland slugger Khris Davis was super powered with seven doubles, a triple, nine homers, and 29 RBI (an AL-high) while hitting .323 with a .364 OBP and a .687 slugging mark, but he struck out 32 times. Fellow west coaster Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels hit eight doubles and ten homers (AL-high) while driving in 25 runs with a .322/.378/.759 line.
In the Senior Circuit, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter earned the NL’s honor for July. In 26 games, he supplied a .333/.447/.774 slash with a 1.222 OPS with eight doubles, eleven homers, and 21 RBI. Like Ramirez, he drew 19 walks in the month.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images