Jose Ramirez is doing his part to keep Cleveland from sinking to the American League Central Division cellar.
Without the veteran slugger in the lineup, Cleveland’s record would probably be a lot worse than 10-12 and the Guardians would not be sitting in second place in the division, only three games behind division leader Minnesota (13-9) entering the first week of May.
Ramirez leads the Guardians in every significant hitting category while swinging a hot bat that has him being mentioned among sportsbooks as an early-season favorite to win the 2022 AL Most Valuable Player award.
BetRivers has odds of +1100 on Ramirez being named the AL MVP. That was down from +1300 on Friday afternoon, prior to Ramirez notching a couple of key hits during a three-game series sweep of Oakland over the weekend. FanDuel has odds of +1200 on Ramirez winning the AL MVP award.
BetRivers (+300) and FanDuel (+350) have the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani as the favorite to claim the top AL individual award, which he won last year.
Playing into his prime years
At 29, Ramirez is both in his prime and one of the older players on the Guardians’ roster. Through 22 games, he leads the Guardians in batting average (.341), home runs (7), runs batted in (28), on-base percentage (.421), and hits (28). He’s also the American League RBI leader and ranks tied for third in home runs and fifth in batting average and total hits, respectively.
Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Guardians (7) pic.twitter.com/ZnjX8e7YNz
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 30, 2022
Ramirez recently played in his 1,000th major league game, all in a Cleveland uniform, thus becoming the 22nd player in franchise history to reach that milestone.
Earning his paycheck
The Guardians and Ramirez came to terms at the start of the season on a seven-year, $124 million contract that extends through the 2028 season. The deal, which is recognized as the largest ever given to a Cleveland player, includes a no-trade clause.
The Guardians’ switch-hitting, emotional lightning rod has been a key member of the Cleveland roster ever since being called up in 2013. Over the past half decade, Ramirez has placed in the top six in AL MVP voting four times, including three times among the top three. He’s also been named to three All-Star Games and has claimed three Silver Slugger awards.
The Guardians and their MVP candidate begin a three-game series against San Diego on Tuesday at Cleveland’s Progressive Field.