Among the fifteen major league catchers with at least 150 plate appearances this season, 28-year-old Washington Nationals' backstop Wilson Ramos has the highest average (.350 AVG), on-base percentage (.392 OBP), and slugging percentage (.569 SLG), the second-most home runs (with eight, behind only Milwaukee Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy's nine), the most runs batted in (31) and the fewest strikeouts (20 in 171 PAs).
He has a 35% caught stealing percentage (third-highest among qualified catchers, behind Miami's J.T. Realmuto and Lucroy, tied at 43%, and Buster Posey 50%), throwing out six of seventeen who have tried to take a base on him and a .995 fld% (third highest amongst qualified NL catchers, behind Posey and Yadier Molina 1.000%).
Citing information provided by Elias, the Nats mentioned in their pregame notes for Sunday's series finale in Cincinnati that Ramos was one of two players in the majors, along with teammate Daniel Murphy, (with a minimum of 500 plate appearances last season and a minimum of 100 this season), who have increased their average over 100 points from what they hit last year to what they are hitting to this point this season. Ramos hit .229 on the year in 2015.
In 27 games in May, Ramos was 30 for 90 (.333 AVG) with 10 walks, five doubles and four home runs. Four games in, in the month of June, the potential free agent-to-be is 8 for 13 (.615 AVG) with two doubles and two home runs.
The first of the two June homers was an three-run, opposite field shot to right in Citizens Bank Park last Wednesday night.
Nats' skipper Dusty Baker talked after the 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies about the power on display from the 6'1'', 255 pound catcher.
"He's not called the 'Buffalo' for nothing," Baker said. "I've never seen a skinny buffalo, unless he's real sick, so it's not surprising. This guy's strong. We give him enough rest, we think, to keep him strong."
"He's quietly having an outstanding year and he's just going about his business."
Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell talked in a chat with readers on Monday about Ramos's ability to go the other way being a big part of the catcher's success at the plate when things are going right.
"That's one of the key factors in why he is a good hitter -- and why scouts/coaches have always thought he could develop over his career and be even better than in his previous years," Boswell wrote.
"Ramos can hit the outside pitch to RF, sometimes with 390-foot-plus power. And he can fight off the fastball that jams him -- and still get it over the infield for a hit. But when he turns on the ball he can blast it.
"This is EXACTLY how he should hit. And when he's hitting best, he's usually using RF most.
"It's going to be fascinating to see how long he can keep this up with his new improved vision -- like, perhaps, the rest of his career. I don't mean >.340. I mean be a Top Hitting Catcher. Or DH/catcher in the AL.
"If it works out, it really couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
The mention of his "new improved vision" is, of course, a reference to the fact that Ramos underwent LASIK surgery this Spring. Is that really the difference? It makes for a good narrative given what he's been able to do so far in 2016.
In spite of his early-season success, however, and likely because of the fact that he's continued to "quietly going about his business" to paraphrase the Nats' manager, Ramos hasn't garnered the votes he deserves in the popularity contest that is the voting for the 2016 MLB All-Star Roster.
Major League Baseball released the early returns in the voting last week, and at that point, the Nationals' backstop was fifth amongst National League catchers behind Arizona Diamondbacks' catcher Wellington Castillo (249,159), Chicago Cubs' catcher Miguel Montero (286,494), Posey (439,239) and Molina (517,825).
The next update on the voting will be released tomorrow. Will Ramos move up the list? Do we have to start organizing the vote to try to move Ramos up the list? #VoteRamos?