Alexei Ramirez: Good or Bad? You Decide

alexei-ramirezThere has been some talk about whether Alexei Ramirez is a good baseball player or a bad baseball player.  One thing for sure, this 27 year old kid, signed by the White Sox, out of Cuba, is a baseball bargain at $1,000,000 per year, over four years.  Other than the White Sox, there weren’t alot of takers out there last year for this talented SS-OF, the thinking was he couldn’t hit a fastball or his frail frame wouldn’t be able to withstand the rigors of a full major league season, for sure he’d need some seasoning in the minors, some years to develop, and at 26, when would he make it to the majors?

Ozzie Guillen surprised the baseball world by keeping the young Cuban on the 2008 opening day roster, not only that, Ramirez started in CF on opening day.  Soon Alexei took the starting secondbase position, a position he’d not played before, and did an outstanding job at the major league level.  Not only that, he didn’t let learning a new position bother him at the plate.

The Cuban Missile batted .290, with 21 homers, 22 doubles, 13 steals, in 136 games, 509 at bats, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Evan Longoria.  Some people didn’t vote for Alexei because he had Cuban experience, the same reason some didn’t vote for Ichiro due to his experience in Japan.

His strong arm and speed often times allowed him to overcome his lackings in baseball fundamentals.  This year he was shited to his more natural position of shortstop, where a strong arm is a necessity, rather than a luxory.  I’ve found I liked him better at secondbase, Ramirez has had trouble with the doubleplay, especially with runners bearing down on him.

This year, once again, his bat is delivering a message, he’s on a pace to repeat last year’s totals, better in a couple of catagories, he already has 27 walks (only walked 18 times as a rookie) and has stolen 12 bases in 15 attempts (last year he was 13 of 22).  He also has a chance to drive in & score over 100 times, not bad for a much maligned middle infielder.

There have been times I’ve been frustrated with his lack of fundamentals, not being able to bunt, not moving a runner along, and the one that burst my cork, not being close enough on a doubleplay grounder off the bat of Jose Guillen, with runners on 1st & 2nd and nobody out, that cost the White Sox three runs & the ballgame.  It prompted me to say I was going to start up a website called www.ShipAlexei2Cuba.com, where fans could click & donate money to have Ramirez shipped back to his motherland.

CLuke has been comparing Ramirez’ game to much loved SS former Cub, Shawon Dunston.  I thought he was just trying to start something, but in reality it looks like he was shorting Alexei.  In reality, there is no comparison, Ramirez outshines Dunston in almost every category.  Shawon didn’t do well with fundamentals, couldn’t bunt, didn’t move runners along, and if you’re remembering him running out bunts, you seem to remember things that didn’t happen all that often, the most bases on balls Thunder Pup ever drew in a season was 30, most years half that many.

The only American League shortstops who are having better years than Ramirez are Derek Jeter, Jason Bartlett, & Marco Scutaro.  There four shortstops in the N.L. having better years than Alexei,  Hanley Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Troy Tulowitzki, and Miguel Tejada.

The facts seem to speak for themselves, as for opinions, just like assholes, everyone has one.  After looking over everything objectively, I’ve taken a valium, I’m going to cut the kid some slack, I’m back on the Ramirez Bandwagon.

LET’S GO ALEXEI!!!  LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!

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