Aramis Ramirez joins the ballot this year. He was a solid third baseman for 18 seasons in the MLB. Does he deserve to be inducted into Cooperstown?
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Aramis Ramirez was signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 1994 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would move up in the minors for a couple of years and made his debut in 1998 a month before his 20th birthday with the big club. His career didn’t start off well as he didn’t get his first major league hit until his 25th plate appearance. He was shuttled back and forth to the minors for a few seasons. While he looked like a stud in Triple-A, he hit just .239 with 12 HRs in his first 163 games at the major league level.
Then came 2001. Ramirez played in 158 games for the Pirates and had an .885 OPS with 34 HRs and 112 RBIs. Although he would slump again in 2002, Ramirez showed he had potential. He started the season fairly well in 2003 and the Pirates wound up trading him to the Chicago Cubs a week before the trading deadline.
Chicago and Milwaukee
The move helped the Cubs reach the NLCS that year and Ramirez, after hitting 15 HRs for Chicago in the last two months, hit another four in the playoffs. For the next eight years in the Windy City (2004-2011) Ramirez slashed .297/.359/.533 and hit 224 bombs while driving in 767 runs. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice and was an All-Star. After his first Silver Slugger award in 2011, the Cubs decided not to re-sign the 33-year-old third baseman.
The Milwaukee Brewers brought in Ramirez on a four-year/$46 million contract. He would reward them with another top-10 finish in MVP voting in 2012 and a career-high 5.6 rWAR. Injuries would begin to take their toll on Ramirez and after a final All-Star appearance in 2014, he was traded back to the Pirates in 2015. He finished his career where it started and hit the last of his 386 HRs against Jon Gray on Sept. 21, 2015, at Coors Field.
His counting stats are pretty solid: A career .283 batting average, 386 HRs, 1,417 RBIs, and 2,303 hits. He finished in the top-10 of MVP voting three times and was a three-time All-Star. Ramirez drove in over 100 runs seven times and was a doubles machine leading the league with 50 in 2012. The long-time third baseman also had a very good 13.8 strikeout percentage for his career.
Ramirez was a one-dimensional player. He only stole 29 bases in his career and was a -31 in Runs from Baserunning according to Baseball-Reference. He was also not great with the glove checking in with a -60 in TZR (Total Zone Rating) and a -70 in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved since 2003). His 115 OPS+ is decent, but for an all-bat player, it isn’t going to wow any of the voters. His playoff numbers don’t help either where he slashed .191/.295/.426 in 19 games.
While Ramirez was pretty good at the plate, he wasn’t a game-changer. Plus, the other parts of his game were not good which is shown in his career 32.4 rWAR. He may get a vote or two, but Aramis Ramirez will fail to get the five percent required and will drop off the ballot after one try.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images