2019 Bust Alert: Why Wilson Ramos Is Not An Elite Catcher

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Many see Wilson Ramos as one of the better offensive catchers in the league, and coming off these 2018 numbers it’s not a crazy declaration:

382 At Bats
.306 Batting Average (117 Hits)
15 Home Runs
70 RBI
39 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.358 On Base Percentage
.487 Slugging Percentage
.353 Batting Average on Balls in Play

So why is it that Ramos came in ranked #12 on our recently released Top 15 Catchers (click here to view)?  There are two big questions, outside of the obvious risk of a regression in his BABIP, that cloud the outlook:

  1. Can he maintain his power?
  2. Will the strikeouts bloat?

In terms of his power, Ramos has generally been more of a groundball hitter.  The owner of a career 54.2% groundball rate, he posted a 54.9% last season and needed a 20.0% HR/FB to reach the 15 HR.  With three straight seasons of 20.0% or better it’s possible that he maintains the mark, but he also isn’t moving to the most hitter friendly ballpark.  Just look at what he’s done at Citi Field in terms of home runs over the past four seasons:

  • 2015 – 0 HR in 19 AB
  • 2016 – 0 HR in 37 AB
  • 2017 – 0 HR in 7 AB
  • 2018 – 0 HR in 13 AB

You add that up and it’s 0 HR in 76 AB at Citi Field (he did hit 1 HR in 24 AB in 2014).  It may not be the biggest sample size, but it also shouldn’t be ignored.

Ramos also brings a questionable approach, with an 11.8% SwStr% and 38.5% O-Swing% last season.  While that didn’t lead to a bad strikeout rate (19.2%), it’s also easy to envision that number getting worse.  When coupled with the inevitable BABIP regression, seeing the average dip back into the .260ish range is believable.

None of this is to say that Ramos is going to be bad, but a .260/12 type catcher is much different than the hope of a .300/20 with full AB.  The Mets could also try to rest him and keep him healthy, utilizing Travis d’Arnaud, further clouding the outlook.

Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports

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