3. Jose Ramirez, Third Base for the Cleveland Indians
.296 average, 1.018 OPS, .422 wOBA, 23 HR, 52 RBI, 5.1 WAR
I feel like I’ve maybe whiffed in this space about singing the praises of Ramirez often enough. This man is one of the best players in baseball and through the past calendar year, he is neck and neck with Mike Trout in virtually every single offensive category you can think of. Per FanGraphs, Ramirez is the superior defender as well. Cleveland is starting to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the A.L. Central which is about how most folks thought it would go. Ramirez has been the focal point of an offense that’s fourth in runs behind only the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros.
The number of players that can hit for power and a high average are about as rare as Joey Gallo going the other way to beat the shift. In other words, it’s not happening very often. Ramirez is tied for the major league lead in home runs and is also tied for ninth in stolen bases, providing even more value outside of the batter’s box. There’s nothing ha can’t do offensively. He’s got some ground to make up as far as beating Trout for the award but there’s too many people sleeping on just how good Ramirez is. I won’t be a member of that club any longer. Cleveland has World Series aspirations and if they navigate the regular season to be in that position for October, Ramirez is going to be one of the biggest reasons why. He’s a premier player by any measure and could be in line for a high profile second place finish in the race.