Third baseman Aramis Ramirez of the Milwaukee Brewers has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in MLB, providing talent and leadership for three different teams. However, despite his prowess at the plate, slow starts have always been a problem for the veteran slugger. But for whatever reason, this year has proven to be an exception to this career constant.
Ramirez has gotten off to a scorching start in the cleanup spot for the Brewers in 2014. His average currently sits at .369 after a 1-for-4 performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night. Ramirez also drove in a run for the Brewers in their 11-2 loss to the Pirates, bringing his season RBI total to a team-leading 14. While Ramirez has always been a productive hitter when healthy, the high average in April is extremely uncharacteristic for the Brewers third baseman.
Ramirez’s struggles in April have become the stuff of legend, particularly during his time with the Chicago Cubs, where he spent the bulk of his career and enjoyed some of his best prime years. In Chicago, it reached the point where Ramirez’s early season difficulties were not even considered to be a cause for concern. For some hitters, a slow start may be a sign of trouble, but Ramirez’s issues in April were so consistent that you could set your watch to them.
However, regardless of Ramirez’s numbers early in the season, which usually consisted of a batting average less than .200 and meager power production, the numbers were always there by the end of the year. Actually, it was quite impressive to watch Ramirez essentially spot himself a full month and still end up with 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs to go along with a batting average at or around .300.
Somehow, Ramirez has defied history and an abbreviated Spring Training to post some exceptional early-season statistics. Health will always be a concern for the soon-to-be 36-year old, who played in only 92 games last season due to a knee injury. However, if healthy for the complete 2014 season, Ramirez will put up big numbers, which the Brewers will need if they hope to contend for a postseason berth.