Maybe it’s his fiery red hair, his swagger, or his attitude, but Cleveland Indians third baseman José Ramirez’s presence on the field has certainly increased since his debut with the Indians on September 1, 2013. Since then he has blossomed into one of the key players for the Indians, and one of the best all around players in the American League. His role has increased even more with the recent release of Juan Uribe. He adds a strong bat in the middle of the lineup following the hard-hitting Francisco Lindor and the slugger Mike Napoli.
In 2013, he started in only fifteen games for the Tribe, and produced a strong batting average. In 2014 though, while his role increased to starting sixty-eight games, his statistics suffered. As he became more acclimated with his role in 2015, his stats started rising as the season came to a close. Now, in 2016, Jose Ramirez has established himself as a fabulous third baseman and batter.
The 162 game MLB season is coming to a close, but with the way the Tribe and specifically José Ramirez have been playing, the hunt for October is definitely in consideration. Ramirez has starred 137 games this year for the Indians, and has produced some numbers that are some of the best in baseball. His .312 average is the eighth best in the American League, and he is third in the American League with 39 doubles. He is eighth on the stolen bases leaderboard with 20, and his at bat to strikeout ratio is 8.4 at bats to one strikeout. If that’s not enough, his fielding percentage, .975, is the second best in the American League, just behind Manny Machado of Baltimore.
José Ramirez has improved his batting and fielding to become one of the best players in the American League in both categories. The ceiling seems so high for Ramirez, he will just keep getting better as the season goes on. His real test comes as the Indians try to build their lead on the Tigers for the first place spot in the AL Central. Such an accomplishment would be the first since 2007. With October drawing near, José Ramirez just has to keep consistent, and the Cleveland Indians will be serious contenders for not just the AL pennant, but the Commissioner’s Trophy as well.