As we begin to approach the 2017 season, one of the larger wild cards at the third base position is Cleveland Indians third sacker Jose Ramirez. While Ramirez is coming off of a remarkable season that saw him excel in a variety of offensive aspects, there isn’t a tremendous basis for it at the Major League level. Should we expect that 2016 will become more of the norm than his previous big league stints, or is a regression in the cards for one of the breakout stars of last season?
Prior to 2016, Ramirez spent a good chunk of time at the Major League level in both 2014 and 2015, with plate appearance totals of 266 and 355, respectively. Neither appearance saw him justify consistent big league time, especially in a 2015 season where he hit only .219 and reached base at a paltry .291 clip. Of course, his .232 batting average on balls in play didn’t exactly help, but his park-adjusted offense still came in 27 points below league average.
The 2016 season represented an entirely different situation for Ramirez. His line featured marks of .312/.363/.462/.825. That batting average was tops among qualifying third basemen, while his OBP ranked fifth among that group. After a season in which he posted a wRC+ of 73, he was able to bring that figure all the way up to 122, which ranked 10th among that same group. While he’s not a tremendous power threat, he demonstrated an ability to consistently reach base while making things happen on the basepaths, where he recorded 22 steals on the season.
So what exactly should we be expecting from Ramirez moving forward?