Aug 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) fields a ground ball off the bat of Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (not pictured) during the sixth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Will the Chicago White Sox get similar production out of shortstop Alexei Ramirez in 2015 as they did last season, or will he revert to 2013?
That is one of a few questions for the White Sox before spring training begins later this month.
As many White Sox fans remember, ’13 was a season to forget for Ramirez. He managed to hit a career-low six home runs and he was dreadful in the field.
Alexei had a total of 22 errors (another career-low), and a fielding percentage of only .968. Much of that had to do with the fact that Ramirez was not playing the season with a clear head.
Late in Spring Training, Ramirez lost his father-in-law which was very difficult for him. It was something that psychologically he struggled with throughout the season, and affected his play considerably.
Last season, Ramirez started off scorching. He hit a robust .342 average in April, followed by an excellent .305 in May. The next two months were a struggle, as he only hit .230 (June) and .235 (July).
Ramirez, an All-Star in ’14, got back on track in August, hitting nearly .300 (.291 to be exact).
September wasn’t a good month for Ramirez, as his batting average nearly dropped to the Mendoza line at .209 for the month.
Ramirez’s batting average for the season was .273, and his home run total increased from 6 to 15 in the season.
The shortstop also drove in more runs (his total rose form 48 to 74), and his OPS was over .700 (.713) for the first time since 2011 when it settled in at .727.
Here is the main question that I want to answer, Which Ramirez will we see?
The answer will be … neither. The Ramirez that we’ll see in ’15 will not be as bad as he was in ’13, nor as good as he was in ’14.
While he can reach double-digits in home runs, I don’t think he will be an All-Star again. I also highly doubt that he will commit 22 errors as he did in ’13.
Do I think he can hit .270 and hit 10 HRs? Absolutely, I just don’t believe he will help carry the offense as he did for the first two months of last year.
Ramirez should still be one of the better all-around shortstops in the game this upcoming season.
A spot in the Top 10 (in MLB) is likely, considering his range at shortstop is still excellent.
Ramirez will be one of the keys to the White Sox defense (as most SS are with any team), and with a potential rookie at second base, he will most likely have to take at leadership role.
Assuming the rest of the White Sox players play up to their potential, Ramirez could find himself in the postseason for the first time since 2008, which is something all of us want to see.