One of the glaring holes the Washington Nationals had in 2013 (and there were more than many think) was at catcher. They entered the year fully expecting to have Wilson Ramos have a bounce back year, and did not expect to rely on Kurt Suzuki as heavily as they did. Unfortunately, Ramos spent time on the Disabled List twice for the same hamstring injury, and whether or not Ramos could be considered the Nationals’ catcher of the future came into serious question among fans. Even though Ramos was coming off of a torn ACL, he sustained the injury early enough in 2012 that many believed any lower body problems would be out of the way by Spring Training.
Ramos silenced any and every critic after coming off of his second DL stint, as he proceeded to catch 23 straight games, the longest streak of the 2013 season, and still put up great numbers in 2013, hitting .272/.307/.470 with 16 home runs and 59 RBI. Those are some pretty solid numbers for a player who did not even eclipse the 80 game mark in 2013. If Ramos was 100 percent healthy in 2013, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to expect 25-30 home runs and perhaps even 80-100 RBI from him. In fact, Baseball Reference has Ramos’ 162 game average season at .270/.325/.445 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI, walking 46 times and striking out only 101 times. Needless to say, there is a lot of potential in Ramos, who has only played in 103 games the past two seasons. Ramos was even worth 2.4 Wins Above Replacement in 2013, which is all the more impressive.
So, what can Nationals brass and fans alike expect from Ramos in 2014? Possibly a breakout year. Ramos is currently going through a normal offseason, compared to one filled with rehab related activities. He played for Tigres de Aragua, a team from the Venezuelan Winter League, where Ramos is from, and hit .309 during that season, which ended in December. Ramos originally decided he did not want to play, preferring to rest in anticipation of 2014. He changed his mind, but did not join the team until the Nov. 20, meaning that Ramos rested for about a month and a half before changing his mind. To me, this is a good sign because it means that he felt good physically, and the extra at-bats should definitely help him after not seeing that much action in 2013.
When listing breakout candidates, I think it would be very safe to say that Ramos should make that list. As far as my own prediction, I think it would be safe to expect something along the lines of .265/.310/.432 with 24 home runs and 77 RBI.