On a team that consists of multiple All-Stars including one of the league’s best players in Francisco Lindor, it is easy to forget just how good some players really are. Tribe third baseman Jose Ramirez is among those underappreciated in todays game.
Many baseball fans when they hear “Cleveland Indians” automatically think of Francisco Lindor and don’t get me wrong, they have very good reason to. Lindor has established himself as a superstar five-tool player who does everything with a smile on his face. However, in his shadow is one of the games best third baseman in Jose Ramirez, who may just be the Most Valuable Player to the Cleveland Indians.
Last season Ramirez got off to a dreadful start at the plate after coming off consecutive third place finishes in AL MVP voting in ‘17 & ‘18. In 85 games played in the 1st half, Ramirez posted a .218/.308/.344 slash line and an atrocious .652 OPS. During that stretch, the Indians had a very respectable (52-38) record though were 6 GB from the leading Minnesota Twins at the break. Following the summer classic, Ramirez returned to his old self posting a .327/.365/.739 slash line with a much-improved OPS of 1.105. Although Ramirez ended up missing around 25 games with a broken hamate bone, his offense practically carried the Indians back into the AL Central race down the stretch.
While comparing Francisco Lindor to Jose Ramirez to determine who the Indians MVP really is, the “clutch” factor plays a big role as they both post drastically different numbers across the board with RISP. In 133 at-bats during the 2019 campaign with RISP, Lindor was flat out not a good hitter. Hitting .202/.295/.312 with 36 RBI and a .607 OPS. On the other hand, Ramirez thrived with men on base. The third baseman posted a .262/.333/.497 slashline with a .823 OPS while driving in 62 runs in 122 trips to the dish. Ramirez simply came through when it mattered most while Lindor struggled to do so, which makes you question if Lindor should really be seen as the MVP of the Tribe.
In the early going in 2020, Ramirez has been the Indians’ best hitter going 5-12 (.417) with a pair of home runs through the club’s first series. Meanwhile, Francisco Lindor has struggled out of the gate hitting .143 in the early season. Lindor without a doubt is a superstar player but when it comes down to who the Indians MVP is, I believe it is Jose Ramirez.