Not many were sure what to expect out of Wilson Ramos heading into 2015. Having been unable to stay healthy for more than 88 games in any season in his career other than his rookie campaign in 2011, the Buffalo had serious injury issues. Knee surgery in 2012 and a couple of pulled hamstrings limited him to only 191 games over his previous three seasons. Considered to be capable of hanging with the best catchers in baseball, both offensively and defensively, when healthy, many believed the Washington Nationals’ playoff hopes rested upon the then-27-year old backstop’s ability to put together a full season.
Well, the Nats finally got it. Ramos spent the entire season on the active roster, never experiencing any injury scares and he finished the season with a career-high 128 games played. Unfortunately, the production was not quite at the level that was expected. Wilson ended the year hitting .229/.258/.358 with 15 home runs, 68 RBIs, and a career-low OPS+ of 68.
The season did not start off poorly for the Venezuelan native, however, as Ramos was actually batting .266/.294/.411 entering play on July 6th. From April 24th to May 19th, the Buffalo put together a 19-game hitting streak, the fifth longest among any players in the league this year. The catcher looked to be finally putting together a productive, healthy season.
With injuries riddled throughout the roster, manager Matt Williams needed players like Ramos and Ian Desmond to step up and have career years. Unfortunately, Ramos’s production began to fall off after that, never again reaching the .266 threshold in 2015. He hit .171 in July and .200 in September, which slowly dragged down his batting average and his value in the lineup right along with it.
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Defensively, the Buffalo was streaky. Runners on the basepaths feared, and for good reason, as he had the highest caught stealing percentage in baseball (44%). However, he struggled with plays at the plate, dropping relays and missing crucial tags. He is not regarded as a stand-out pitch framer, although his backup Jose Lobaton is, but was not bad by any means. Overall, the 230 pound backstop was average at best, bringing to light questions of his future in the organization.
The Buffalo has been a fan favorite since his arrival in D.C. in 2010. He has shown spurts of All-Star capabilities, but has never turned it into a full season. The Nats may not be suited to find his replacement this offseason, but with Wilson entering his free agent year, they may need to get started.