Alexei Ramirez has been one of the White Sox most consistent players throughout the last few seasons.
He’s been an everyday starter for four seasons now and has averaged a .278 BA, 19 HR, and 77 RBI per year. What’s most impressive is that these statistics have not been skewed by extreme numbers in any given year; in each of his seasons he had stats right around those averages.
It’s hard to come by a franchise shortstop that can be the informal captain of the infield on defense who also puts up consistent offensive numbers, but the White Sox have found just that with the former Cuban star.
Despite a typically slow start at the plate this year, I see pretty much a lot of the same from Ramirez in 2012.
I can’t think of any reason why he wouldn’t continue this consistent streak of offensive output. He will hit in the .270s and club around 20 HR with 80 RBIs, give or take. While that would be perfectly fine, I do think there are a couple areas in which Alexei could step up.
As opposed to statistics, it involves more of a situational explanation.
Alexei has proven to be one of the best offensive and defensive SSs in the league, but for most of his 4-year career he has done it while being comfortably placed around the 7-hole in the lineup. I think it’s time for him to step up and move into the 2-hole, which is a clear need on offense for the Sox.
Chicago’s primary guy in that spot now is Brent Morel, and while you normally want someone to hit there who takes a lot of pitches and battles through at bats, neither Ramirez nor Morel fits that description, so you may as well let the more accomplished Ramirez have the crack at it.
In a previous post on GrabSomeBench.com I said that I think Gordon Beckham deserves a chance at the 2-spot. Despite his own awful start to the season, I’ll stand by that.
Ramirez has notoriously struggled in the early-goings, so I think that lines up perfectly for the two of them. Let Gordon hit there now while Ramirez gets his feel for the season, and if Beckham does well, you can leave Ramirez down around the 6 or 7 hole where he has been most comfortable. However, if Beckham doesn’t perform well enough, you move Alexei up to the 2-spot, having already given him a while down lower in the order to get his feel.
It lines up perfectly for the two middle infielders to see how they’ll help our lineup best in 2012.
Secondly, I want to see Ramirez start to perform in the early-goings of the marathon we call the regular season. I don’t want to complain too much about his offense, but with how good his numbers have already been, imagine what they would be with strong performances in April and May. We may be looking at 25-30 home runs and upwards of 90 RBI’s. That’s something we’d all like to see.
So, sinch it up and hunker down, Alexei! You’re due!