Cleveland’s Ramirez Named American League’s Player of the Week

Jose Ramirez received a little extra praise in advance of his starting nod for the 89th Major League All-Star Game on Tuesday night on Monday when he was named the American League’s Player of the Week for games played between July 9 and July 15.

In three games against the Cincinnati Reds and four against the New York Yankees, the third baseman put up a .423/.483/1.115 line at the plate with eleven hits in 29 plate appearances. Seven of those hits landed for extra bases, with five of those crossing over the walls of Progressive Field for home runs to give him 29 on the season and a tie with Boston’s J.D. Martinez for the most in the Majors at the All-Star break. He ended the week with hits in six straight games.

It was the first Player of the Week award this season for Ramirez, who previously won the award twice last year.

Ramirez started his week on a rough note, going 0-for-5 in the series opener with the Reds on Monday with a strikeout. But he responded with a pair of multi-hit games to conclude the series, hitting a double and a homer in the 7-4 loss on Tuesday night before hitting two homers and driving in five runs in the Tribe’s big 19-4 win on Wednesday to avoid the sweep against the Reds.

The 25-year-old switch-hitter reached base safely three times on Thursday in the Indians’ 7-4 loss to the Yankees. He singled, walked, and homered (for the third straight game) while driving in a pair of runs.

He scored in his fourth straight game on Friday in Cleveland’s 6-5 win. He went 2-for-3 at the plate for the second consecutive night and reached base a third time via walk. He singled and tripled and was responsible for driving in a pair of runs.

Ramirez made his only hit on Saturday count as he hit a solo home run in the 5-4 loss. He walked for the third straight game and scored a run in his fifth straight game while extending his hitting streak to five in a row. He crossed home plate safely twice in the game for the second time in the week.

He wrapped up his work week with a hit in a sixth straight game, and with his two hits at the dish, it marked his fifth different contest of the week with a multi-hit effort. He had a pair of singles, scored a run, and stole his 20th base of the campaign, becoming one of just a handful of players in Major League history to hit 25 homers and steal 20 bases in the first half of a season.

The big week for Ramirez pushed his batting average over the .300 mark for the first time since June 2. At the All-Star break, he has put up a .302/.401/.628 line at the plate with a 1.029 OPS. He is the top extra base man in baseball, hitting 26 doubles, two triples, and 29 homers to give him 57 on the season, and he has driven in 70 runs on the year, second-most in the AL to Martinez’s 80. He has been strong on the base paths as well, stealing 20 bases in 23 opportunities, and has exhibited a good eye at the plate, drawing 57 walks to his 48 strikeouts in 419 total plate appearances.

His 29 homers put him in rare company in both Indians and MLB history. He is the first Indians player to have a claim of the league lead in homers at the break since Al Rosen was tied with Ted Williams with 25 homers in 1950 (he ended the season with a league-leading 37 in his breakout season as Williams played in only 19 games after the break). His homer total also tied the most ever hit by a switch-hitter at the break, joining Mickey Mantle (1956) and Lance Berkman (2002).

Ramirez becomes the third different Indians player to win the AL’s Player of the Week award this season, following Edwin Encarnacion (June 3) and Francisco Lindor (twice – May 6 and May 13).

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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