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Jose Ramirez

Indians’ José Ramirez Quietly Becomes One Of American League’s Best

José Ramirez of the Indians appears primed for AL MVP

José Ramirez should be a household name by now. With much fanfare, the Cleveland Indians’ young star has become one of the best players in baseball over the last five seasons. He is a genuine superstar if you judge strictly by his play on the field.

Yet he’s hardly mentioned in the same breath as longtime teammate Francisco Lindor outside of Ohio.

Ramirez might finally get his due Thursday night when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announces the American League Most Valuable Player.

The two-time All-Star from Bani, Dominican Republic has been a finalist for the AL MVP Award in three of the last four years. He appears to be the front-runner for the 2020 AL MVP. He hit 17 home runs with 46 RBIs, a .292 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, .607 slugging percentage and .993 OPS over 58 games. Cuban slugger José Abreu of the White Sox and DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees are the other two finalists.

He doesn’t have a slick nickname like Lindor’s Mr. Smile. Yet, Ramirez has finished in the top three in the AL MVP race in 2017, 2018 and 2020. Last season was the first in which he didn’t garner at least one point in the AL MVP race since 2015.

In 2018 Ramirez finished third behind the Red Sox’s Mookie Betts and runner-up Mike Trout of the Angels. He finished third in 2017 behind Jose Altuve of the Astros and Aaron Judge of the Yankees.

The veteran third baseman garnered one first-place vote in 2017, which is something he was denied over the next two years.

Jose Ramirez is a regular on BBWAA ballot

Ramirez made his first appearance on the AL MVP ballot in 2016, when he earned one ninth-place vote. That was the year he burst onto the national spotlight while helping the Indians win the AL pennant. He starred as the Indians fell to the Cubs in a thrilling, seven-game World Series.

At 28, he has already accumulated a 27.9 Wins Above Replacement. He has 127 home runs, 437 RBIs, three Silver Slugger Awards and two All-Star Game selections over eight seasons.

He could be the first native of the Dominican Republic to win an MVP Award since Albert Pujols won the NL MVP in 2011 with the Cardinals.

Venezuelans Altuve (2017) and Miguel Cabrera (2013 and 2012) are the last two Latinos to win AL MVP Awards. No native of the Dominican has won the AL MVP Award since Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero of the Angeles in 2004. Alex Rodriguez, a son of Dominicans, won the AL MVP with the Yankees in 2005 and 2007 with the Yankees.

Ramirez has a chance to join those greats as MVP winners tonight.

Featured art by Keith Allison.

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