“How can people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?” Mary Renault
I could not find a more perfect quote in regards to the enigmatic Wilson Ramos. Whether it is injuries of the nagging sort or as a result of his position, he has only averaged 72 games played over the last three years. But what a glorious 78 games it was in 2013. As of this writing Ramos is being drafted on average at pick 143.92 in NFBC drafts and was the eleventh catcher selected last night in the twelfth round. While it remains to be seen what Ramos can do over a full season, he defines risk or reward at catcher for 2014. I am willing to take the risk.
Wilson Ramos – Washington Nationals
- 2013 Stats – 78 G, 29 R, 16 HR, 59 RBI 272/307/470
It is irresponsible to project his numbers out based on this sample knowing a regression should occur in his home run pace. But in the 78 games above, Ramos finished eleventh in home runs by a catcher in 2013 and fifth in the National League ahead of Buster Posey. In fact, he hit one more home run than Posey in 233 fewer at bats. Ramos had a HR/FB% of 27.6 that will be hard to maintain over a full season. With more at bats, he would have had the second highest HR/FB rate in baseball last year to Chris Davis. In 2011 Ramos had a 13.4% HR/FB in 113 games and hit 15 home runs. That is not near his pace from last season but it does leave room to speculate on how his recent spike will affect his projection. Ramos’ HR/FB% spike over the last two seasons has raised his career number to 16.5 entering 2014. According to ESPN’s home run tracker, Ramos average true distance of home runs was 405.9 feet. Only five of his sixteen home runs were of the “just enough” variety. Looking at his projections, there seems to be tiers based on how many at bats he can get but the power is for real:
- Ramos 2014 Steamer Projection – 387 AB, 45 R, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB 266/321/447
- Ramos 2014 CBS Projection – 410 AB, 42 R, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 0 SB 270/317/451
- Ramos 2014 Oliver Projection – 554 AB, 69 R, 24 HR, 86 RBI, 0 SB 265/314/446
It appears that the Oliver projection is the most aggressive and if Ramos can stay on the field I am fully invested in the power numbers. I believe Ramos comes with less risk than Evan Gattis especially in regards to the batting averages. Yet he is going on average thirty picks later in NFBC drafts and two rounds later than him in the FSTA draft last night. For those in keeper leagues, this may the last time you can buy low on Ramos as he enters his mythical age 27 year. Last September, only Mike Napoli and Salvador Perez were ahead of Ramos on the ESPN player rater for catchers and Napoli is only first base eligible this year. As proof of his power, here are Ramos’ home runs from last year with his ballpark as the overlay:
Another key to his power potential will be taking some of the doubles to center and right field over the fence. His spray chart on BrooksBaseball.net shows he has the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field:
Because his playing time has been so sporadic Ramos is tough to project. That being said, he could be a top five catcher and all it will cost is a 12th round draft selection. Using his career batting averages as a baseline, here is my projection:
- My 2014 Ramos projection: 494 AB, 136 H, 68 R, 26 HR, 81 RBI 276/320/460
As long as my league mates do not read this, it is safe to assume that Ramos will be a stock I am looking to invest in for 2014. It is time to reap the harvest that his potential has shown.
Greg Jewett is a staff writer for Roto Analysis and you can follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!
Wilson Ramos picture credit: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/11/10/ramos10-d08be341c8277b26e715ed661d047b99a8e48051-