Next week, Guardians fans will get to see three stars take the field in Los Angeles for the All-Star game.
Andrés Giménez, Emmanuel Clase, and José Ramirez all earned the honor of representing the Guardians.
But fans will get a little extra taste of José Ramirez.
That’s because, on Wednesday, it was announced that Ramirez will take part in this year’s Home Run Derby.
Thrills and Skills
Fans were stoked to see Ramirez accept the Home Run Derby invitation:
José Ramirez is doing the Home Run Derby! Only one spot left 👀 pic.twitter.com/XnKcfxvvwU
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 13, 2022
Can confirm. José Ramírez has rejected invitations to participate in the HR Derby in the past, but not this year. https://t.co/FNmuW3fDDn
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 13, 2022
Jose Ramirez will be in this year’s home run derby!!! pic.twitter.com/V14L3a8Dwk
— Cleveland Sports Talk (@CLEsportsTalk) July 13, 2022
Guess who's going to be in the Home Run Derby next week.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 13, 2022
Jose Ramirez in the home run derby is so amazing and perfect and yes and oh and wow and jeez and whew and good
— Austin Hedges Truther (@mlbfeeelit) July 13, 2022
Jose Ramirez in the home run derby is going to be a movie.
— Guardians of the Naylor (@DFluckesFans) July 14, 2022
— J.Byrd (@j_byrd88) July 14, 2022
Great branding move by José Ramirez to join the All-Star Home Run Derby. He deserves more national coverage.
— 🟧🟧🟫🄼🄰🅃🅃🄸🄴🟫🟧🟧 (@mattpie0011) July 14, 2022
It’s not hard to see why Ramirez got the call.
Ramirez has 17 homers on the season so far, just two behind Washington’s Soto.
But even more impressive, Ramirez has the second-most RBIs across the majors this season with 68, just four behind MLB leader Pete Alonso.
He holds that mark despite only registering six RBIs in his last 22 starts.
This last 22-game stretch has been a rough one for Ramirez and the Guardians.
Since June 23, the Guardians are just 6-16, with ugly losses against the Yankees and Twins on the resume.
Ramirez, for his part, has also struggled during this stretch.
He’s batting just .238 with 16 strikeouts.
For context, Ramirez was batting .302 with just 20 strikeouts in the 62 games before June 23.
His slump is likely a big reason why he’s not a starter on the All-Star team, but instead one of its reserves.
Had he come into the mid-season mark as hot as he started, there’s little doubt he would have beat out Boston’s Rafael Devers to start.
In fact, Ramirez led all third basemen in Phase I of All-Star voting, but his recent struggles saw Devers overtake him down the stretch.
It’s disappointing, to say the least, but nonetheless, inclusion in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star game are major accomplishments.
Sizing Up The Field
Of the players currently named to the Home Run Derby, Ramirez rates somewhere in the middle in terms of raw homerun hitting this season.
Below him are Acuña and Pujols, who have stroked eight and six homers, respectively.
But Alonso (23), Schwarber (28), and Soto (19) all have more HRs than Ramirez.
Ramirez also faces the reigning Home Run Derby champ in Alonso, who’s won the competition twice, in 2021 and 2019.
Alonso was also the MLB home run leader in 2019.
Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber, for his part, is just two home runs behind Aaron Judge (30) for the league lead in long balls.
Needless to say, Ramirez will have his hands full next week.
But there’s reason to believe Ramirez can hold his own against the formidable competition.
His 17 long balls aren’t anything to shrug at, for starters.
And much of this competition is just about getting hot at the right time.
If Ramirez can get on a run and continually crush homers, he’ll be a tough out.
Hopefully, he carries that hot streak back into the regular season, as he and the Guardians sure do need it.