José Enrique Ramírez (born September 17, 1992) is a Dominican professional baseball second baseman for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He signed with Indians as an amateur free agent on November 26, 2009, and made his MLB debut on September 1, 2013. A right-handed thrower and switch hitter , Ramírez stands 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) and weighs 175 pounds (79 kg).

Ramírez was selected for both the MLB All-Star Game and Silver Slugger Award for the first time in 2017. He became the 19th player in history to hit at least 56 doubles in one season, while leading the major leagues in 2017. Ramírez is under contract with the Indians until 2021.

Early life

Cleveland Indians

Born in Baní , [32] Ramírez played in the Dominican Prospect League. [33] In 2009, at the age of 17, Ramírez and other unsigned prospects traveled to the Cleveland Indians ' Dominican facility in Boca Chica , where an Indians scout noticed Ramírez. He signed with the Indians, receiving a $50,000 signing bonus . [32] [2]

Ramírez sat out the 2010 season and made his professional debut in 2011 with the Arizona Indians of the Rookie-level Arizona League . He batted .325 in 48 games played . He then played for the Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League . [32] In 2012, he played for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League and Lake County Captains of the Class A Midwest League . The next year, he started the season with the Akron Aeros of the Class AA Eastern League . [2]

2013

Ramírez made his MLB debut on September 1, 2013, after being called up earlier that day. He came into the game as a pinch runner during the ninth inning and scored on a game-winning grand slam by Mike Aviles . [5] He recorded his first Major League hit on September 9 against the Kansas City Royals, when he lined a single to left field off of Royals starter Ervin Santana during the third inning. [6] September 9 was also his first multi-hit game, as he singled during the seventh inning off of Royals reliever Wade Davis . [6]

Ramírez was on the Indians roster during their September stretch run in which the team closed the Wild Card gap; the team eventually overtook both the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays for the first Wild Card spot. [7] This became their first playoff berth since 2007. [8]

2014

Ramírez began the 2014 season in the minor leagues and had great success in his limited time, with a batting line of .319/.363/.484 in 105 plate appearances. [9] He was quickly called up on May 1, as Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was headed to the disabled list. Ramírez played well but was sent back to the minors on May 20, after Kipnis was reinstated from the disabled list. However, Ramírez did not stay in the minors again for long; he was recalled before July 23 to help spell the Indians' waning offense. [10]

Ramírez began to get regular playing time at shortstop on July 31, after the Indians traded shortstop Asdrúbal Cabrera . [11] He made the most of his opportunity and had a huge night on August 9. On that day, Ramírez hit his first home run. It came in the second inning, against Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy. In the audience were five of Ramírez's family members, including his parents. His good day did not end with the home run; he later singled in the fifth and seventh innings while putting together his first career three-hit game. [12] When asked about the home run, Ramírez said that he was just "praying to God that it would get over the wall". The ball cleared the wall by only a few feet. [11]

Ramírez finished the 2014 season by hitting a solid .262 in 237 at-bats. He compiled 62 hits and also had 10 steals, good for a tie for fourth most on the team. [13]

2015

In 2015, Ramírez made his first Opening Day roster. He started on Opening Day, batting ninth and playing shortstop. He also started the Indians home opener on April 10. Ramírez went 1-for-4 in the team's first game at newly renovated Progressive Field . [14]

Ramírez, and the Indians, struggled during the first half of the 2015 season. [15] The team fell to last place in the AL Central during June, and Ramírez would be sent down to AAA Columbus during that span. After being called back up for the second time on August 3, Ramírez would play much better, hitting .250 over the second half of the season. [16] He closed out the 2015 season strong by hitting .280 in September and October with 21 hits. He also had a power surge in September, hitting four home runs while setting his career high for home runs in a single month. [17]

2016

2016 was Ramírez's breakout season, as he has hit to the tune of a .312/.355/.423 line as of July 8, 2016. [18] He also has 21 doubles, which leads the team. Ramírez has become the first player during 2016 to hit in every spot in the lineup, when he batted fourth on June 28. [19] Ramírez has also played four positions this year: second base, third base, shortstop, and left field. He has truly become the Indians' super utility player. When asked about Ramírez's play, Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo noted that Ramírez "has done a great job all year." [19] He also concluded that with the Indians missing Michael Brantley, Ramírez has really stepped up in the heart of their batting order and "been a real shot in the arm" for the organization.

As of July 14, Ramírez was third in the American League with a .377 batting average with runners in scoring position. [20] He backed that up on June 19, when he hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning against the Chicago White Sox, which gave the Indians a 3-2 win. [33] That win was the third of 14 straight wins for the Indians, which is now a franchise record. [33] Their 14 straight wins from June 17 to July 1 is not only a franchise record but also the longest win streak in baseball since 2013. [33] During the streak, Ramírez batted .298 while compiling 17 hits and 9 RBI. On September 17, his 24th birthday, Ramírez hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Indians a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers. In the fifth game of the 2016 World Series , Ramirez hit a home run, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead against the Chicago Cubs.

2017

On March 28, 2017 , Ramírez signed a five-year contract extension worth $26 million. [33] In June, he collected nine consecutive multi-hit games, the longest such streak for an Indians player since Roy Hughes in 1936. [35] He was named AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career on June 18, after batting .516 with 16 hits, three home runs, seven RBI and a stolen base. He raised his average from .265 to .320 over his previous 22 games. [36] When Jason Kipnis sustained a hamstring injury on July 9, the Indians placed him on the 10-day DL, [33] and shifted Ramírez to cover second base to replace him for much of the remainder of the season. [35] Ramírez was selected by fan voting as the starting third baseman for the American League in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game . [33]

On September 3 versus the Detroit Tigers , Ramírez tied a major league record with five extra-base hits , which included three doubles and two home runs. Incidentally, both home runs received "help", as both were catchable. For the first home run, Mikie Mahtook pushed the ball over the fence with his bare hand. On the second, the ball bounced off Alex Presley 's glove and touched the yellow stripe of the fence for a home run. That game was also the 11th of a 22-game win streak spanning August 24−September 15, which surpassed the 2002 Oakland Athletics ' 20 consecutive wins for the American League record, and was the second longest all-time to the New York Giants ' 26 consecutive in 1916. In that streak, Ramírez made the strongest offensive contribution, batting .423/.462/.944. [33] He was named AL Player of the Week on September 5. [40]

In 152 games of 2017, Ramirez finished with an MLB-leading 56 doubles, a .318 batting average, .957 OPS, 29 home runs, 83 RBI, and 107 runs scored. He totaled 91 extra base hits , the second-highest total in one season for a switch hitter in major league history. He became just the 19th player to hit at least 56 doubles in one season. His .957 OPS is the highest-ever in one season for a player who made at least 60 appearances at both second base and third base. [35]

End of season awards for Ramírez included selection as designated hitter on Baseball America' s All-MLB Team, [41] and his first career Silver Slugger Award , as the top-hitting AL third baseman. [42] He received a nomination as one of three Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalists at third base. [43] He placed third in the AL Most Valuable Player Award balloting, behind winner José Altuve and Aaron Judge . [44]

See also