Oct 19, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2016: 28
How acquired: Trade from Twins for RHP Matt Capps, July 2010
MLB service time: 5 years, 47 days
2015 salary+bonuses: $3.55 million
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2016, free agent in 2017
2015 stats: 128 G, 504 PA, 41 R, 109 H, 16 2B, 0 3B, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 0 SB, 21 BB, 101 SO, .229 AVG, .258 OBP, .358 SLG, .616 OPS, 6 E, 44% CS rate, 0.8 WAR
Quotable: “I’ve been working really, really hard to be healthy to be behind the plate for a lot of games. And this year I did it well. It makes me feel good, because I’m doing what I was working for. It feels really good.” — Wilson Ramos
2015 analysis: Wilson Ramos’ goal entering 2015 was simple: Avoid significant injury for the first time in his major-league career and catch at least 120 games. He was successful in that regard, never landing on the DL and getting behind the plate 125 times (seventh-most in baseball).
It’s not just that Ramos was behind the plate, though. He was effective back there, as well. His 3.43 catcher’s ERA ranked fourth in the majors. His 44.4 percent caught-stealing rate tied Russell Martin for the majors’ best. And, of course, he played his role in both of Max Scherzer’s no-hitters, the third he caught in his team’s last 162 games.
At the plate, though, Ramos was inconsistent. He went through a few hot stretches, delivered several of the season’s biggest hits (including his Labor Day grand slam against the Mets) and produced 68 RBI as a catcher (most in the NL). But his batting average, on-base percentage and OPS as a catcher all ranked last in the NL.
2016 outlook: Ramos has proven he can make it through an entire season intact, but here’s the question: Is he actually better off playing a little bit less? Ramos’ offensive production dropped this year. He showed at times in the past he was more productive when not catching every day; perhaps he might recapture some of that if catching, say, four times a week instead of five.
Ramos’ defensive reputation sometimes gets knocked because of his struggles receiving throws from outfielders and relay men on plays at the plate. To be sure, that has always been a problem area for him. But he has established himself as a very good game-caller and thrower, and that certainly counts for something.
The Nationals do face something of a decision this winter, though: Ramos is entering his walk year. Do they believe he is worth locking up to an extension? Do they figure they’ll let him leave as a free agent next offseason? Or would they consider exploring offers for him right now and seeing what they could get in return for a catcher who might not be part of the organization beyond 2016 anyway?
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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