For the past few seasons, there have been few players with more problems than Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos.
The winter of 2011 saw Ramos kidnapped in Venezuela, and after being rescued, he blew out his ACL in the 2012 season. After missing that whole season, Ramos returned and was hurt again as he faced hamstring problems, possibly a byproduct of the ACL surgery. Now, this season, Ramos was finally fully healthy … until Opening Day when he took a pitch off his throwing hand. He will now face surgery on his hamate bone and miss at least a month.
So, with now three straight seasons of some sort of significant injury, is Ramos officially injury-prone, or is he just downright unlucky? It’s a fair question to ask, as Ramos has yet to play more than 120 games in his career, which is somewhat alarming considering Washington considers him their everyday catcher.
Ramos has given every indication that, when healthy, he can be an offensive force. Matt Williams made a statement by batting Ramos at cleanup on Opening Day because Ramos has the offensive potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat.
When a player gets injured, the cause could be many things. It could be playing too hard, it could be a bad body or it could just be a matter of luck. Think about Nick Johnson, another former Nationals player who was constantly hurt. Johnson was a slick-fielding first baseman who showed that he was capable offensively and defensively when he was healthy.
Unfortunately, it was injury after injury for Johnson — sometimes a hard luck injury, sometimes a lingering problem. The bottom line was that while he played 11 seasons, Johnson never played more than 147 games in a season and limped towards retirement at age 33.
The fact of the matter is that Ramos is probably slightly injury-prone, but also unlucky at this point. The hamstring issue may have been a byproduct of the ACL surgery, but being hit by a pitch and suffering a broken bone is a freak injury that could just be a matter of luck. Players get hit by pitches relatively consistently, and are okay most of the time, if not a little bruised.
Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch on the hand last night and was okay, so sometimes it can be about luck. Unfortunately for Ramos, it seems like he’s caught in the middle of being unlucky and injury-prone.