Sep 26, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez hits a RBI single against the Kansas City Royals in the 8th inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
In 2014, Alexei Ramirez had a very solid, productive season that saw him not only play in nearly every game, but become an All-Star for the first time in his career.
Sep 21, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) smiles while on base during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Ramirez finished with a .273 batting average, and within that he totaled 35 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs. In his 170 total hits, Ramirez had 74 RBIs and struck out fewer than 100 times with 81.
For fans of sabermetrics, Ramirez’s WAR (wins above replacement) was 3.0 this season, 0.4 better than last season, which was 2.6.
In thinking back to the season that Ramirez constructed, the one word that I can best use to describe him is “dependable.” Playing in 158 of 162 games is something that just doesn’t happen often in the majors.
Not to mention, the dependable Ramirez played his 158 games at shortstop, which isn’t an easy feat. By playing the most games, he also had the most at-bats with 622, the most runs (82), the most steals (21), tied for the most doubles (35) and the most plate appearances (657) for the White Sox this past season.
In fact, Ramirez has played in 158 games in each of the last four seasons, and in ’10 he played in 156 games. In his seven years in the majors (all with the White Sox), Ramirez has played in 1,072 games.
He was second for the White Sox in hits (170), RBIs (74), total bases (254) and XBH (52), which is the number of double, triples and home runs added up for a player.
With the good comes the bad, as he also led the team by grounding out into 21 double plays.
At one point this past season there were talks that Ramirez could be traded, but that never happened to the first-time All-Star. One fun fact about Ramirez was he replaced Derek Jeter at shortstop in the All-Star game, and I believe Ramirez was the best shortstop in the AL this past season. If he wasn’t the best, then he was in the Top 2 or 3 conversation.
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One improvement for Ramirez this season was his RBI totals, with the aforementioned 78 this past season, compared to the 48 he had in ’13.
As I said earlier, I really enjoyed the play of Ramirez this past season, and now he is the longest tenured White Sox on the roster with the retirement of Paul Konerko. Ramirez, along with Chris Sale and Jose Abreu, must take over the leadership role for the White Sox in ’15.
Looking ahead to ’15, the White Sox must have Ramirez on the roster next season. Sure, they could get some players for him, but nobody would be able to replace his durability and the production he brings with him to the ball park every night.
It will be interesting to see what Ramirez does to improve on his positive production of ’14.