Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez is an April anomaly so far in 2014. A .248 career hitter in March and April, Ramirez is off to the strongest start of his career. He has a .420/.463/.680 slash line and has hit safely in each of the White Sox’ 13 games this season.
That streak puts him just three games away from tying Frank Thomas’ record 16-game streak to start a season. Ramirez also leads the AL in batting average, multi-hit games (eight), OPS (1.143) and hits (21).
Since signing with the White Sox in 2008, Ramirez has been one of the team’s most consistently evolving players, changing his emphasis at the plate from power to speed especially over the past few years. He hit a career-low in home runs last year with six, while setting a new career high in stolen bases with 30. The one constant that remained however, always mirrored the Chicago weather, with Ramirez starting cold and heating up by June and July.
Ramirez continued to defy the nasty Chicago spring weather in the final game of a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Wearing lots of layers to fight the rain and 48-degree temperature, Ramirez hit his second career walkoff home run, leading the White Sox to a 4-3 win. Afterwards, Ramirez said he couldn’t feel the cold.
By themselves, Ramirez’s April numbers are astonishing. But their importance to the White Sox is what matters the most. Ramirez’s April surge in stark contrast to his history of slow starts further embodies the spirit of the 2014 White Sox. This is a team that can’t erase the past but that can build a new future, starting with a spark in the middle of the infield.