One of the most tried and true responses bound to appear in a discussion about a streaky player’s season is the one that either elevates or downs the number based on consistency. So-called reliable baseball players are more desirable than their yin-or-yang counterparts for obvious reasons: those players make better spouses. More importantly, though, having a grip on performance fluctuation is a good thing.
A mere glance at Aramis Ramirez’s .324 wOBA does his season no justice on a narrative or awareness basis. Only after a closer examination may one put to rest the fears of a washed-up Ramirez created in Cubs’ fans minds on the stillest night. After 185 plate appearances (which happened to cover the first two months of this season) Ramirez had only popped four homers with a line of .162/.227/.269. He played better in June with the saddest coincidence being that he barely played at all; a thumb injury sidelined him for all but 10 games.
Starting in July, Ramirez wiped the sleep from his eyes and bat alike. Seventeen home runs in 242 plate appearances is impressive and contributes to Ramirez’s seventh 20-plus home run season in nine seasons. Ramirez’s 35 strikeouts since the calendar flipped to July is remarkable since he struck out 43 times in April and May combined.
As for his line, try .299/.343/.594 on for size. That slugging percentage would mark a career best if he somehow extrapolated it over an entire season. Unlikely as it may be (he turns 33 next June), Ramirez will attempt the feat while wearing blue pinstripes. He holds a player option for his next season (as well documented lately) that he should exercise. By doing so, he will have the opportunity to exercise the demons that derailed his 2010, even if they reside in his thumb.