Another chip fell in free agency with Wilson Ramos signing a two-year contract with the Mets. This also takes them out of the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes. While it seems like a downgrade, adding Ramos makes sense for New York. Ramos appeared in 111 games last season scoring 39 runs with 15 home runs, 70 RBI and a .306/.358/.487 slash line. He’s a reliable commodity at a scarce position.
Ramos will also lengthen the Mets lineup. Presently, he’s projected to hit fifth. Last year’s cumulative total for New York’s hitting fifth scored 76 runs with 63 RBI and a paltry .228/.322/.384 line. Although Ramos’ numbers suffer using his data from an injury riddled 2017, he represents an upgrade in this spot when in the lineup.
Over the last three years Ramos slashed .297/.342/.482 with 116 runs, 48 home runs and 186 RBI. Within this time frame he’s recorded an isolated power of .185 with a .350 weighted on-base average, 36.2 hard hit rate, 20.7 home run per fly ball percentage and contact rate of 80 percent. While his home run per fly ball rate seems enticing, it’s tempered by a 54.1 ground ball percentage. Still, there’s solace to fantasy owners since Ramos averages a home run every 22.39 at-bats. Here’s a look at his line drives and fly balls from the last three years with Citi Field as the backdrop:
Due to the steadiness of Ramos’ numbers the last three seasons, his production should not decline in New York. When comparing his totals to xSTATS, his expected average of .296 correlates with his three-year totals but the expected home runs of 42.4 should temper power expectations. However, if Ramos hits fifth, RBI opportunities and more runs would offset fewer home runs.
Plus, with pitchers trying to work up in the zone, Ramos could benefit noting his isolated power on elevated pitches in the following chart:
Although Ramos produces at a steady rate, his average draft position does not reflect it. His early ADP sees him as the sixth catcher off the board in NFBC drafts on average at pick number 140.81 with a high pick of 106 and a low selection of 160th. This changes in leagues with only one catcher, but it’s a nice purview of how Ramos could be valued in future drafts.
Targeting a catcher comes with inherent risk. Fortunately, Ramos provides a safe floor in terms of batting average, will drive in runs and not be a liability in home runs. Using his last three year data to formulate a projection would put Ramos in line for 58 runs, 18 home runs, 70 RBI and a .290 average in 450 at-bats. This feels like a reasonable expectation with the chance he reaches 20 home runs, but it’s reliant on how many at-bats he accrues. There’s room for growth in RBI if the Mets offense continues to improve and Ramos stays on the field, representing a beacon of hope at a dearth position.