CLEVELAND -- There have been plenty of names mentioned in reference to the race for the American League Most Valuable Player Award throughout the 2017 season, but one name that has been absent on a national level is that of Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez.
But with the Indians building a 22-game winning streak and Ramirez hitting a team-best .423 during the run, teammates and coaches alike are hopeful that their offensive spark plug and defensive stalwart will get the proper recognition he deserves.
“That’s the one really nice thing,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of the attention from the streak. “It gives me a platform to brag about our guys because I love doing it. I think they deserve it, and it won’t be the last time.”
Already, Ramirez earned recognition for his efforts by getting the start for the American League in the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, where he went two for two with a pair of singles.
A native of Bani, Dominican Republic, the 5-foot-9, 190-pound Ramirez got 21 hits in 37 at-bats over a seven-day period in late June and raised his batting average by 36 points. Ramirez smacked 10 doubles, one triple and three home runs with seven RBI and 12 runs scored, all while leading the Indians to a six-game winning streak during the same stretch.
Ramirez had at least one double in seven straight games, including multiple two-base hits in three of five games.
In the first 79 games of the season, Ramirez collected 99 hits in 305 at-bats (.325 batting average), including 45 for extra bases (26 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs). Ramirez drove in 42 runs, scored 59 and drew 27 walks against only 39 strikeouts.
On the season, Ramirez has 174 hits, including 27 home runs and a Major League-best 51 doubles, with 76 RBI, 98 runs scored and a .315 batting average.
During the 22-game winning streak, Ramirez smacked 30 hits, including 11 doubles, one triple and eight home runs, in 71 at-bats with 17 runs scored, a .460 on-base percentage and .944 slugging percentage.
When the streak was snapped with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field last Friday, Ramirez belted a two-run home run, and was promptly serenaded with chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP” after returning to the dugout.
Ramirez’s teammates heard the chants and feel such recognition is well earned.
“He deserves it. He deserves it,” outfielder Jay Bruce said. “He’s right up there in the conversation for the best player in the league this year, and there’s still a lot of time left for him to help his case, and I have no doubt that he will.
“He’s got it in him, that’s for sure, so I look forward to him continuing to be himself. I think that’s the biggest thing in this whole deal. This whole time, he’s just been himself playing. He’s preparing and he’s ready, and he’s fun to watch, and he’s a big part of this team.”