Oct 14, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 26
How acquired: Trade from Twins for RHP Matt Capps, July 2010
MLB service time: 3 years, 47 days
2013 salary+bonuses: $501,250
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2014, free agent in 2017
2013 Stats: 78 G, 303 PA, 29 R, 78 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 0 SB, 15 BB, 42 SO, .272 AVG, .307 OBP, .470 SLG, .777 OPS, 8 E, 29% CS rate, 1.8 WAR
Quotable: “I know I’m coming back from the surgery and two injuries in my hammy, but I’m happy for what I did. I was thinking: ‘Finish healthy, and it’s not about the numbers,’ but I made pretty good numbers this year.” — Wilson Ramos
2013 analysis: After Ramos missed most of 2012 with a torn ACL, the Nationals didn’t know what exactly to expect from their young catcher this season. And some of their worst fears were quickly realized when he landed on the DL with a hamstring strain, then landed right back there when he aggravated the same injury shortly after returning to the active roster.
Ramos made it back at long last on July 4, then not only stayed healthy the rest of the way but proved he could be a highly productive player while taking his position behind the plate almost every single night. He started 63 of the Nationals’ final 78 games, including 23 in a row at one point (most by any MLB catcher this season). And in those 63 games, he hit .276 with 14 homers and 53 RBI, most of it from the No. 8 spot in the lineup.
Ramos’ defensive work was just as impressive. In addition to deftly handling the pitching staff — the Nats had a 3.26 ERA when Ramos was catching, well below the club’s 3.59 ERA for the entire season — he also caught 29 percent of all would-be basestealers, solidifying one of the team’s biggest problem areas.
2014 outlook: There’s no question now that Ramos can be one of the best all-around catchers in the majors … if he can stay on the field. That will continue to be the biggest concern entering next season.
Ramos was determined to prove his durability during the final month of this season, and Davey Johnson happily gave him the opportunity, starting him in 23 consecutive games. Whether the Nationals’ new manager is quite as willing to ride his No. 1 catcher so hard remains to be seen.
Ramos will try to shed some weight this winter, giving his body the best possible chance to hold up through the long grind. And he’ll probably continue to take it easy on the bases, not exactly busting down the line to try to beat out a grounder to the hole at short. If that lack of hustle translates into 120 games started in 2014, the Nationals will have no complaints.
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