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Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 11 – Jose Ramirez

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 11 – Jose Ramirez

| On 17, Mar 2019

Baseball fans around the globe can rejoice – there are less than two weeks to go until the start of the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season schedule. Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we continue our countdown to Opening Day – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 11 days

An MVP worthy first half did not continue during the second half of the season for third baseman Jose Ramirez last year, but it should take nothing away from what was an impressive effort.

It was a year of personal bests for Ramirez, who replicated the successes of his impressive 2017 season by earning his second straight starting nod at third base for the American League team in the Midsummer Classic before winning a second Silver Slugger Award and finishing third again in the Most Valuable Player voting. A dramatic second half decline heavily impacted the MVP results.

Ramirez played in a career-high 157 games last season, setting new highs for plate appearances, runs scored, homers, RBI, stolen bases, walks, intentional walks, sacrifice flies, and hit by pitches, and on-base percentage and OPS+ (in a full season). Ramirez became just the third 30-30 player in Indians history (joining Joe Carter and Grady Sizemore) after hitting 39 homers and stealing 34 bases in 40 attempts.

Ramirez – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

As the season progressed, it appeared as though teams began to pitch around the lethal threat. He drew 57 walks in 94 first half games (with eight intentional), but he drew 49 in 63 second half games (with seven IBB). His strikeout rates before and after the break were nearly identical.

Ramirez started the year with some flashes of power in April, getting 12 extra base hits in the month while driving in 16 runs, but it was an incredible May (paired with similar off-the-chart numbers from left side of the infield teammate and All-Star Francisco Lindor) that gave a jolt to his stat line. He hit .336 with a .432 on-base percentage and a .757 slugging (1.189 OPS) with 81 total bases for the month, including 12 doubles and eleven homers. He scored 26 times and had 36 hits (both season highs) and he drove in 25 runs, a figure that he would match in July.

Ramirez’s contributions calmed slightly in June, when he was intentionally walked five times (one-third of his season’s total) as teams may have shown some respect for the hitting display that he provided the month before. He did take advantage of some opportunities on base, swiping all seven bags that he attempted to steal in the month. He flared back up the next month, posting a .322/.441/.722 line (1.164 OPS) with strong numbers across the board, including eight doubles, two triples, eight homers, 25 RBI, 21 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases in 12 tries.

Over the final two months of the year, Ramirez’s contributions slowed significantly. In his final 52 games, he hit ten doubles, one triple, seven homers, and drove in 27. He hit .245 in August and just .174 in September while he was shifted back over to second base halfway through the month to accommodate the acquisition of Josh Donaldson at the waiver trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays. His final numbers in the second half (.218/.366/.427) fell far short of his .302/.401/.628 mark heading into the All-Star Game.

Just like his teammate Lindor, the switch-hitting Ramirez showcased his power from the left side of the plate. He hit 33 of his 39 homers off of right-handers, putting up better triple slash numbers as a left-handed hitter (.271/.405/.586) than as a right-handed hitter (.267/.339/.471).

Lindor & Ramirez – Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While the last two seasons have led to Ramirez being bounced across the diamond to second base, whether due to injuries and ineffectiveness of mainstay Jason Kipnis or the addition late last season of Donaldson to fill in at third, the 2019 season appears to be one in which he will be locked in at the hot corner. The offseason trade of Yandy Diaz removed one of the internal candidates at the spot, and with manager Terry Francona committing early in the spring to Kipnis being his starting second baseman, there is less interest in utilizing the former All-Star Kipnis in the outfield to fill one of the vacancies there.

The Indians will go as Ramirez goes. With a lineup that lost some thunder in the trades of Yonder Alonso, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yan Gomes, and the free agent loss of Michael Brantley (among others), Cleveland will be counting on another season of big production from Ramirez, Lindor, and the returning Carlos Santana. The key will be whether or not Ramirez will be able to see enough pitches to do damage with less support around him in the lineup than a season ago, when even that did not stop opposing pitchers from doing their best to work around the 5’9” powerhouse. With options potentially keeping him in a Tribe uniform through the 2023 season, the Indians are not just counting on him for the present, but for the future as well.

Other notable 11s in Tribe history (43 in total): Grover Hartley (the first in 1929), Charlie Jamieson (1930), Frankie Pytlak (1932-36), Ben Chapman (1939-40), Frankie Hayes (1945-46), Art Houtteman (1953-57), John Romano (1960-62), Ted Uhlaender (1971), Dave Duncan (1973-74), Toby Harrah (1979-83), Doug Jones (1988-91), Paul Sorrento (1992-95), Matt Lawton (2002-04), Drew Stubbs (2013)

Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below.

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 99
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 90 – Adam Cimber
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 88
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Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 76
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 75
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 73
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 72
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 71
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 70
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 69
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 68
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 67
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 66
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 65
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 64
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 63
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 62
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 61 – Dan Otero
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 60
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 59 – Carlos Carrasco
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 58 – Neil Ramirez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 57 – Shane Bieber
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 56 – Cody Anderson
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 55 – Roberto Perez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 54
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 53
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 52 – Mike Clevinger
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 51
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 50
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 49 – Tyler Olson
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 48
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 47 – Trevor Bauer
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 46 – Jon Edwards
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 45 – Adam Plutko
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 44 – Nick Goody
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 43
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 42
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 41 – Carlos Santana
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 40
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 39 – Oliver Perez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 38 – Eric Haase
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 37
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 36
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 35 – Ben Taylor
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 34
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 33 – Brad Hand
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 32
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 31 – Danny Salazar
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 30 – Tyler Naquin
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 29
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 28 – Corey Kluber
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 27
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 26
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 25
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 24
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 23
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 22 – Jason Kipnis
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 21
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 20
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 19
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 18
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 17
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 16
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 15
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 14
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 13 – Leonys Martin
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 12 – Francisco Lindor

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