The tremendous season Aramis Ramirez is currently enjoying has certainly gotten its fair share of virtual ink on the blogosphere. He remains one of the bright spots in a dreadful Brewers season — one that has seen the Brew Crew drop twelve games below .500 after back-to-back losses against the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend.
A-Ram connected with two more home runs against the Phillies which brings his season total to 17 home runs and 58 extra-base hits. It’s almost unbelievable, considering he was only hitting .219 with 17 total extra-base hits on May 21 against the San Francisco Giants.
Since that arbitrary endpoint, the Dominican Republic native has blown the doors off with a .328/.383/.580 slash line and 41 extra-base hits. Ryan Braun has stolen most of the headlines due to his monstrous year, but Ramirez has exceeded expectations in his first year with the Brewers. Though the organization explicitly stated that Ramirez was not brought to Milwaukee to replace Prince Fielder, it’s interesting that one could argue that he has done just that in 2012 thus far:
Aramis Ramirez: +3.9 WAR
Prince Fielder: +3.3 WAR
Of course, the wins above replacement metric includes the controversial UZR statistics, which indicates that A-Ram has been above-average defensively this season, and also does not account for the differences in park and league. Still, the overarching point remains true that Aramis Ramirez has essentially replaced Prince Fielder’s production on the field this season.
Ramirez has done more than that, though. He has more extra-base hits this season than Ryan Braun and is making a run at the franchise record, currently held by Prince Fielder and Robin Yount with 87 extra-base hits in 2007 and 1982, respectively.
Currently sitting at 58 extra-base hits with 42 games remaining, the 34-year-old still needs 29 extra-base hits to tie the record — which means he must collect an extra-base hit in more than every other game. More specifically, he must log an extra-base hit once every 1.45 games throughout the remainder of the season. The good news is that since the beginning of June, Ramirez has one extra-base hit every 1.75 games, so he has not been overwhelmingly off the pace for the past two-and-a-half months.
The final two years of Ramirez’s contract still should raise some eyebrows — as he will cost $10M in 2013 and $16M in 2014 with $6M deferred in 2014 — but the three-year, $36M contract negotiated by Doug Melvin this past winter has currently paid massive dividends for this Brewers team. Using FanGraphs’ dollar/win estimations, Ramirez has been worth $17.7M this season. At that rate of production, his contract will have been monetarily “worth it” by the end of 2013.
In a year without much to celebrate or follow, however, Aramis Ramirez’s chase for Brewers’ history may be one of the more interesting storylines down the stretch. He’s certainly a longshot to tie the franchise record, but his career splits suggest August and September are historically two of his better months at the plate, giving him a chance to put together a special stretch and give the record a run.
Again, all from a player who was hitting .219 on May 21, his 40th game of year.