Chicago Cubs: Harold Ramirez brings an intriguing offensive profile
On Monday, the Chicago Cubs made a move to bring more depth to the roster. In a trade with the newly-renamed Cleveland Guardians, the club acquired platoon outfielder Harold Ramirez in exchange for cash. On paper, this movie is so tertiary it rightfully flew under the radar; however, there is a bit more to the acquisition that makes it worth digging into a bit deeper.
Moves like these do nothing to excite the populace, especially as we are in the heart of tracking where the big boppers will be playing baseball in 2022. It does, however, give us a chance to read between the lines and look deeper into the minds of those in charge and, ultimately, the purpose of a move that feels so humdrum.
Chicago Cubs: Contact hitting is the name of the game
For the past five years, during much of the Theo Epstein regime and before, the Cubs’ mantra was driven by big bats and the flair of the long ball. However, at the deadline this past season, that mantra seemed to fade with the departing of the big three and the arrival of more contact-first bats, namely infielder Nick Madrigal.
Ramirez seems to fit that profile closer than that of the latter and will assumedly represent another contact-first bat off the bench when the team opens their 2022 season up in Cincinnati next March.
The 27-year-old made his big league debut in 2019 with the Miami Marlins. In 119 games for the Fish, Ramirez proceeded to post a near league average wRC+ and slashed a respectable .276/.312/.416 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. In addition, he mitigated the strikeouts while flexing a nice bit of power.
Last season, Ramirez hit .268 across 361 plate appearances for the Guardians, swatting seven home runs while simultaneously decreasing his strikeout rate again, but that does not tell the most important story of his 2021 campaign.
In diving deeper into the metrics, it should be noted that Ramirez had a max exit velocity of 114.8 off the bat while improving upon his hard-hit rate by a whopping 12.3 percent from 2019, from 34.6 percent to finish this year at a 46.9 percent clip. He also continued to show his raw power and ability to hit to all parts of the field, made apparent by his directional hitting.
Ramirez will not provide a lick of fielding. However, it would seem as though that was not the purpose of acquiring his bat. It seems to fit the new skill direction of the club perfectly. These moves do nothing in the public eye, but there does seem to be a method to the madness and the idea mentioned above of moving into a contact-first club.
Ramirez is the first domino to fall in what fans hope and pray will be a more consistent season. For now, there will be time for Ramirez to get acquainted with his new club and work toward Opening Day.