May 1, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop John McDonald (16) beats the tag by Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (3) during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. The Diamondbacks defeated the Nationals 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Preview: Wilson Ramos

The story of Wilson Ramos‘ 2012 was a tragic one, to say the least. He was kidnapped at his home in Venezuela in the offseason and had to be rescued by a team of commandos in a dramatic firefight. As if that weren’t enough, his promising 2012 season was cut short by a May ACL tear. He had hit .267/.334/.445 in 2011, his rookie year, and many had him projected to break out as a top-tier catcher. But now, fully recovered and catching in a game for the first time since his injury, Ramos is back on track to finally show everyone what he can do. His most stiff competition this season will come from fellow catcher Kurt Suzuki, who was the #1 catcher for the final few months or 2012 after being acquired from the Athletics. The team has said that Suzuki will likely start on Opening Day, given that Ramos is not quite at full strength, but also that there will be an open competition for playing time. Our projections suggest Ramos’ numbers will keep him in contention:

ZiPS: 311 AB, .260/.314/.411, 34 RBI, 32 RS, 0 SB, 9 HR 195 AB, .277/.368/.415, 32 RBI, 33 RS, 0 SB, 6 HR

CBSSports: 270 AB, .256/.319/.415, 35 RBI, 34 RS, 0 SB, 9 HR

ESPN Fantasy: 184 AB, .261/.322/.402, 22 RBI, 21 RS, 0 SB, 6 HR

Averages: 240 AB, .264/.331/.411, 31 RBI, 30 RS, 0 SB, 8 HR

While these numbers do not portend a monstrous step forward, they are nothing to scoff at for a young player coming off a major injury. These numbers are all pretty close to Ramos’ career norms, which, despite his short career to date, suggest a reasonably high degree of confidence in his health. All indications are that Ramos should be a valuable fantasy contributor on a game-by-game basis, but his playing time will limit him severely. CBSSports puts him at 28th among all catchers in fantasy points despite expecting him to have the fewest at bats (270) of any of those catchers. But if his stats are scaled to 480 at bats, meaning he would be the full-time starter, he would be projected for the tenth-most fantasy points of any catcher. As it stands right now, Ramos is a fantasy option only in deep NL-only leagues, but if he somehow acquires the full-time starting job, take a flier on him and you could well be rewarded. As a Nat, Ramos should provide sound offense from the catcher’s spot, and in alternating with the veteran Suzuki, get back on the ladder to being the catcher of the future.

Tags: Washington Nationals Wilson Ramos

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