Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alexei Ramirez

In the midst of an otherwise good piece about how the White Sox have been overlooked this year, Patrick Sullivan drops this bombshell:

"Alexei Ramirez, now the team's full-time second baseman, is slugging .515 and shows no signs of slowing down. With Ian Kinsler out for the remainder of the season, no AL team will trot out a better player at the position."

Uh...no. First off, I don't know where that slugging percentage came from; Ramirez has not reached .500 in that department at any point this season. Even at .484, though, Alexei is having a star-caliber season...or is he?

Ramirez ranks seventh in VORP among AL second basemen...out of 11 with at least 300 plate appearances. If you give him extra credit for his low PA total, he's having a better year than Jose Lopez. Still, this leaves him behind Howie Kendrick and Placido Polanco, and well behind Brian Roberts and Dustin Pedroia--not to mention Kinsler.

We're not done yet. Does anyone here think Alexei Ramirez is a better player than Robinson Cano? If so, perhaps you haven't familiarized yourself enough with the concept of regression to the mean. Does anyone think Ramirez is better than Mark Ellis? I suggest you read up on defensive metrics. While you're doing that, check out how Ramirez's defense rates: he's one of the worst in the AL at the position.

So who is Alexei Ramirez? The best second baseman in the league, or a comparative disadvantage for the White Sox? You decide.

1 comment:

leftside said...

While I agree that it is probably a stretch to call Ramirez the best 2b in baseball, I do think he is the top rookie and is amking a huge impact on the South Side.

A couple things your analysis left out. First, Alexei started the first month and a half on the bench pinch hitting, where he was batting .150 until the middle of May. Since starting every day, he has had the 3rd highest BA in the league (.333). Overall, he's batting a whopping .432 with runners in scoring position and similar with and .444 with runners on 3rd with less than 2 out. Since the All Star game his power stroke has been coming out - 6 homers, 23 RBIs. His fielding is spectacular if you've watched him. Most of his errors were on balls that most 2b would not have even had a play at.