Jaffe: Jose Ramirez and the greatest third-base seasons ever

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on June 5, 2018:

Though he was voted into the starting lineup of the American League All-Star team last year and finished third in MVP voting, as well José Ramírez is still something of an under-the-radar star. Perhaps it’s because he plays in Cleveland rather than a larger, more glamorous market. Maybe it’s because he plays alongside — but also the shadow of — Francisco Lindor, an elite shortstop who’s 14 months younger. It’s conceivable that Ramirez’s early-career struggles and the fact that he shares his name with a Braves pitcher contribute to his lower profile as well.

Regardless, with the strong start to his 2018 season — and particularly a torrid May, during which he recorded a 214 wRC+ and 2.6 WAR, tied with Lindor for the MLB high) — the 25-year-old switch-hitter is now fifth in WAR since the start of 2016, behind only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant and Jose Altuve (15.6 WAR, 0.7 ahead of the sixth-place Lindor). By any standard, he deserves to be considered among the game’s top-tier players.

What’s more, Ramírez has put himself in position to do something that no third baseman has ever done: post a season of at least 10 wins (hat-tip to reader GERB who pointed this out in my most recent chat). Through Saturday, he had compiled 4.1 WAR in the Indians’ 57 games (he sat out one), an 11.7 WAR pace, though he’s not the only player on such a breakneck clip. Trout entered Sunday on an astonishing 13.5-win pace (4.9 WAR in 59 Angels games), and Betts on a 10.5 WAR pace (4.1 in 63 games — the number the Red Sox will have played when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list on June 8).

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jose-ramirez-and-the-greatest-third-base-seasons-ever/

Originally published: June 5, 2018. Last Updated: June 5, 2018.