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Meet the New Guy: Aramis Ramirez

In a Protected Roster deadline deal, the Atomic RoadRunners acquired Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez from Shoeless Jews, in exchange for Brewers SP Yovani Gallardo. Noting the dearth of quality third-basemen for the upcoming 2011 season, in addition to the loss of Chase Headley back to the player pool, and the ineffectiveness of Casey Blake, the Roadrunners targeted Shoeless Jews in trade talks, as they had three starting third basemen (including the protected Placido Polanco and Chris Johnson).

From today’s Baseball Prospectus:

Aramis entered the 2010 season coming off a run of six strong seasons that combined for a line of .303/.368/.551. This slugging percentage tied him with Lance Berkman for seventh in this span among batters with 3,000 or more plate appearances, and he was also top-17 in all of batting average, HR, and RBI. Yet, the expectations of a collapse continued to be written.

In 2010, the doom-and-gloom crowd was right. Aramis whacked 25 homers and drove in 83 runs in just 124 games, but his batting average cratered to .241, following the sinking of his BABIP to .245. He was pressing at the plate and trying to adjust for injuries during the first half of the season–his late surge accounted for almost all his production, as he was slugging under .300 as of July 5. It’s not clear that he’ll rebound fully to his 2004-2009 levels, but finishing the season with a .294/.338/.583 batting line for the final 68 games he played–including 19 home runs in just 272 PA-–certainly suggests that it’s far too early to write him off. His BABIP is likely to rebound to career levels, and that should be enough to keep his batting average out of the negative impact territory. The injuries are supposedly behind him, but having missed time in two consecutive seasons, it would be wise to temper playing time expectations somewhat. When healthy, though, he’ll again provide very good power for a third baseman.