Hey, Hoynsie: The last two years Jose has done the same thing — he gets hot at the plate, hits loads of home runs and then gets himself into a mess trying to hit more and finishes the season terribly, especially in the postseason. Do you think he can refine his hitting, and improve in the second half, or is he too stubborn to change? — Aussie Jeff, Sydney, Australia.
Hey, Jeff: Ramirez is a good hitter, a very good hitter. He’s going to have all winter to think about what happened to his swing over the last month and a half of the season.
In 2017, he went into a slump after the All-Star break and came out of it. From Aug. 5-23, he went 8-for-60 (.133). From Aug. 24 through the end of the season, he hit .400 (46-for-115) with 11 homers and 24 RBI in 30 games.
This year his slump started on Aug. 14 and he never came out of it. Will he get straightened out before 2019? I don’t know, I’m not a hitting coach. Does he understand his swing well enough to find the flaws in it or to recognize how pitchers took advantage of him? Again I’m not a hitting coach, but I don’t think you go from being a utility player to a two-time All-Star by not being able to adjust.
Ramirez is a switch-hitter and that makes it doubly difficult to get fixed because he has different swings from both sides of the plate. I know he played a lot of baseball (157 games, 578 at-bats) during the regular season, but as long as he’s healthy, perhaps he should play some winter ball in the Dominican Republic or spend time working with the Tribe’s hitting coaches this winter to put him on the right path.
In the last two postseasons, Ramirez has gone 2-for-31. I think that’s more random than anything else. In 2016, he hit .500 (5-for-10) in the ALDS and .310 (9-for-29) in the World Series.