We’re finally back to being on time here in “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers”, my annual countdown to Opening Day. Today is March 15th which just so happens to be 16 days away from Opening Day. In case you’re new around here, that means I profile the Brewers player who wears #16 on his jersey. Today that is…
For everything good about 2012 for the 16-year MLB veteran, 2013 was offsettingly negative.
In his first year in Milwaukee, Ramirez played in 149 games, hit .300/.360/.540 with 92 runs scored, 171 hits, a league-leading 50 of which were doubles, 27 home runs and 105 RBI. Ramirez even stole a career-high nine bases.
Ultimately, he finished 9th in the National League Most Valuable Player voting, was a top three finisher for the NL Gold Glove Award at the hot corner, and certainly justified more than his $6 million contract.
It was a solid season, one that contributed a great deal to a very strong offensive season for the Brewers as a whole in 2012. A seemingly harmless spring training game in 2013 would change all that.
It was Saturday, March 2 and Ramirez was doing what any player would have done. He tattooed a ball and was headed into second base for a double but had to slide. It was a bit of an awkward and late slide and the impact that Ramirez experienced resulted in what was first dubbed as a left knee strain.
Ramirez was thought lost for 7-10 days after an MRI came back negative for an ACL rupture. He would miss just under two weeks in full and seemed no worse for the wear. The Brewers broke camp and headed north and Ramirez got off to a hot start over the first few days of the season.
Then some guy named Murphy attended the Brewers’ April 5th game and disaster struck.
Ramirez hit one of the doubles he’d rapidly been becoming famous for in Milwaukee and slid into second base. His previously sprained knee was once again injured and he was placed on the 15-day DL. He missed a month and admittedly wasn’t 100% when he returned. He didn’t play a full nine innings until May 8th and didn’t play in consecutive games until May 17-18.
Manager Ron Roenicke told the media that Ramirez’s knee wasn’t going to be fully healed all season without significant down time. To his credit, Ramirez wanted to help the team as best he could despite the injury.
After bottoming out at a .254 batting average on August 20, Ramirez got on a patented hot streak to finish the season at a .283 average. It was his lowest since 2010 and second-worst since 2003. In just 351 plate appearances, Ramirez slashed .283/.370/.461 with significantly down numbers when compared to 2012.
With his knee now completely healthy, Ramirez entered 2014 camp on a bit of a delay after off-season surgery. He had an early screening for prostate cancer which prematurely took his father’s life. Ramirez had a polyp removed and he was delayed in his off-season workouts by not quite two weeks.
Since he’s gotten on the field in 2014, he’s hitting over .500 and really swinging a good bat. He’s hoping to avoid another one of his own patents, the ice cold start in the batter’s box. They seemed to have things figured out in 2013 before the knee issues. Hopefully Ramirez has better luck and his knees hold up well.
The Brewers need Ramirez in the cleanup spot in 2014 to approach the needed levels of offensive production to carry this team at the plate.
And if Aramis Ramirez has proven nothing else over the course of his career, he can certainly shoulder the offensive load once he’s gets going.
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #18 Khris Davis
- #20 Jonathan Lucroy
- #21 Juan Francisco
- #22 Matt Garza
- #23 Rickie Weeks
- #24 Lyle Overbay
- #25 Hunter Morris
- #26 Kyle Lohse
- #27 Carlos Gomez
- #29 Jim Henderson
- #30 Tyler Thornburg
- #32 Tom Gorzelanny
- #38 Wily Peralta
- #40 Johnny Hellweg
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Alfredo Figaro
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez