Jose Ramirez is a man of the people. He is fun to watch, he constantly hustles, and in his first few starts of the season, he has played great. Whether his helmet is flying off on a dash to first base or he is running down a ball in left field after having barely ever played there before in his career, Angry Hamster is just plain fun to watch. Just being fun to watch does not mean anyone should be a starter, but Ramirez has done more than just be fun -- he's been effective.
This early in the season, stats do not mean much, but Ramirez is already leading the team in hits (5) and he is one of only a handful of players to hit a double so far. Granted, it is only in 13 plate appearances, but he is also the only player on the team to not strikeout more than once this season. Considering the type of pitchers the team has faced, that is not a small feat.
All three of Ramirez's starts this season have come in left field. Obviously, that is not a place he can start every day once Michael Brantley returns healthy, but he should be finding playing time somewhere. Anywhere. Prior to the game being cancelled, Ramirez was penciled in to play third base against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. This would have been another relatively new position for him, having only played there 15 times at the major-league level. But that is just the kind of playing time that Ramirez should see this season, filling in here and there for a struggling hitter, or in a platoon situation.
Ramirez has not hit particularly well so far in his career, but that is not the result of any kind of a split. To date, he has a 79 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers, and an 83 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. His walk rates (7.2% vs. LHP, 7.3% vs. RHP) and strikeout rates (11.6% vs. LHP, 12.0% vs. RHP) are both very similar, as well. The bottom line is that he has been below-average so far in his short career, but he has been evenly below average. I would be willing to bet that, if (or when) he emerges as a solid hitter there will not be much of a split present.
Regardless of what Ramirez is doing, the guy just hustles. It doesn't matter if he is struggling, on his game, or anything -- you will not find him jogging anything out.
When the Indians are no longer plagued by nagging injuries and the roster becomes fuller, it may be more difficult for Francona to work Ramirez into the lineup. However, if he keeps playing as well as he has recently, Tito may not have a choice. Ramirez has played the outfield well, and if he can play several infield positions as well, he could be almost be an everyday player all over the field. That is great news for the Indians and Indians fans; bad news for helmets everywhere.
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Assuming Ramirez keeps this kind of production off the bench up, he will be one-third of what could eventually be one of the better benches in the entire league. Robert Perez is a fantastic back-up catcher and could start on several other teams. Once Brantley and Chisenhall return, one of Rajai Davis or Tyler Naquin will be the third bench player, and both them are serviceable, at the very least.