Cleveland Indians MLB

Is Indians Jose Ramirez Experiencing a Late MVP Surge?

Written by Jameus Mooney

It was only a few years ago when every expert in baseball would debate: who is the better player, Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez? It was at that time that despite the Lindor hype, Jose Ramirez stole the headlines. In both 2017 and 2018, he finished third place in AL MVP voting. The third baseman has a lifetime slash of .280./.353/.493, has stolen over 20 bags in three different seasons, is a stellar defender, and has topped 20 homeruns in each of his last three seasons heading into this year.

It was 2019, however, that Ramirez would like to forget. He hit 23 homeruns, but only walked 52 times compared to his 106 in 2018. He saw his lowest OPS since the 2015 season and hit only .255. 2020 may suck for everybody else, but it’s been a major bounceback for Ramirez.

With White Sox Jose Abreu, Yankees Luke Voit and teammate Shane Beiber stealing all of the AL MVP headlines, Ramirez has silently put himself into the thick of the race once again, for the third time in four years. He’s currently hitting .290/.376/.595 for a .971 OPS. He has 16 homeruns in only 52 games, has stolen ten bases and has a 157 OPS+. Ramirez does it all for a Cleveland time that’s found themselves with a 30-24 record and the number seven postseason seed if the season ended today.

How does Ramirez analytics stack up? If you pull his Fangraphs page, you will see that he has a WAR of 3, the highest in baseball per their measurements. He has a .406 wOBA, .305 ISO, 156 wRC+ (the highest of his career) and a 16.6 wRAA. By all analytical metrics, he’s one of the game’s premiere players.

Even his teammates believe he’s been better than advertised.

The Indians have a week left to clinch their wildcard spot, but look to do it tonight with their magic number being 1. Jose Ramirez has helped transform what was supposed to be a down year into a year they could theoretically go all of the way.

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About the author

Jameus Mooney