BDD: Alexei Ramirez is Overrated
At Baseball Digest Daily, I conclude that the second baseman of the Chicago White Sox is overrated:
The future doesn’t portend well for Ramirez, either. Among all Major League hitters with at least 300 plate appearances in 2008, Ramirez had the third-highest percentage of swings at pitches outside the strike zone (O-Swing%, found at FanGraphs). Not surprisingly, Ramirez brings up the rear among AL 2B in pitches per plate appearance at 3.27. Iwamura led the way at 4.14.
Those metrics both match up with his low walk total — 15 unintentionals in 509 PA (FanGraphs lists his BB% at 3.6% which ties for the sixth-lowest walk rate in the Majors). The kid simply has an extremely poor idea of the strike zone. That can be fixed, of course, but not without some hard work and dedication.
Another disappointing metric is his line drive rate, 16.6% in 2008. A higher line drive percentage is positively correlated with success because line drives have a much higher probability of leading to hits (.718 BABIP) than ground and fly balls (.237 and .142 BABIP, respectively). And, obviously, hitting a line drive means that you did some or all of the following: picked up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, read the rotation on the ball, and had good mechanics in putting a swing on the ball (among others). Using the +.120 method of finding an expected BABIP ( LD% divided by 100 plus .120), we find that he even slightly overshot his otherwise average 2008 BABIP of .296.