Monday, May 10, 2010

Aramis Ramirez is a problem.

The Cub third baseman is slashing .160/.226/.261 in 133 plate appearances this year. The counting stats are pretty crappy, which would be tolerable in early-season fantasy baseball if the walks and doubles were there. It would mean a guy is seeing the ball well and hitting it hard; it's just a matter of time before he progresses back to the mean and the doubles start falling over the fence a bit more often and some of his slumping teammates start helping him create more runs. But Aramis Ramirez is not doing anything with the bat these days, especially with a dude who hasn't slugged less than .491 in seven years. So what's wrong with him? I don't watch a lot of Cub games so I have no idea. He's not that old; this is Age 32 season and historically speaking, his power shouldn't be disappearing this rapidly, even though he wasn't all that good the last two months of 2009. He is striking out 23% of the time, a lot higher than his usual seasons, but his walk rate has actually been a bit better. He's definitely capable of a rebound but what's going on? Is he pressing a bit too much in the early going? Is he just really really unlucky with his .176 BABIP? Is he hiding an injury?

This guy theorizes that it's possible his Dominican upbringing may affect his play, and that Aramis has trouble playing baseball in Chicago in the colder months. The linked article is outdated by several years and while Aramis's numbers in the Aprils and Mays of his earlier career back that up, it wasn't like that the last few years. Have there been unusually warm springs for Chicago recently? I really don't know.

But Aramis is simply too good to drop, and if an impatient leaguemate has released him, you should consider picking him up. In the meantime, I'll be benching him, and pick up a replacement until he starts showing some signs of life. There's a few not-unattractive options on the waiver wire for a CI if I shift the eligible Kevin Youkilis to replace Aramis at 3B and plug in Paul Konerko at 1B, a waiver wire pick-up of mine who has done no wrong for me so far.