Winning a big league job this year was well within Max Ramirez’s reach, despite the fact that he found himself behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden on the Rangers’ depth chart. He looked to be even more prepared for a big league gig after smacking 15 homers in the Venezuelan Winter League before the season. No, he’s not the defensive catcher Teagarden is, in fact far from it. And no, he’s never been the centerpiece of a headline trade as Salty has, not unless you consider being traded for Bob Wickman or a 40-year old Kenny Lofton a blockbuster deal. What Ramirez is, or was supposed to be, was the best pure-hitter out of the three and that was his stake on the Rangers’ catching job.
Well, at least that as his claim. I fully realize that it is only mid-June, but since getting the call up to AAA Oklahoma City, Ramirez’s plate discipline has gone completely kerflooey.
While it’s not unusual to see Ramirez strike out, he’s really found himself in dangerous territory as of late, striking out in a third of his plate appearances. What really sticks out like a sore thumb is the big decrease in his walk rate. Ramirez hasn’t had a wOBA under .400 over a full season in his minor league career, but currently is among the bottom of the Pacific Coast League pack with a wOBA of just .282.
With the Salty/Teagarden platoon equaling just .6 WAR to this point, and Chris Davis melting like a Popsicle in the hot Texas sun, Ramirez picked a real bad time to hit the skids. Tools don’t just evaporate for a 24-year old hitter, but Ramirez needs to find his bearings soon. For someone whose bat was supposed to give him an opportunity to play, and now with surprisingly ample opportunity in Arlington, Ramirez finds himself on the outside looking in.