Following his breakout 2016 campaign, Jose Ramirez arguably was the top player for a 102-win Indians squad last season, raising his production in every meaningful fantasy category except steals. Even so, Ramirez still swiped 17 bags to go with 29 long balls, making him one of only four players in baseball to reach both benchmarks. Even the MLB-wide jump in power wasn't enough to dim the luster on his 115-point improvement in ISO, and Ramirez's sterling plate discipline, downward-trending GB/FB rate and ability to spray the ball around the yard are skills that make him a good bet to keep his average near or above .300. Moreover, Ramirez's placement in the heart of a potent lineup should keep propping up his run and RBI outputs, making the 25-year-old one of the few true five-category contributors. Due to Jason Kipnis missing extensive time last season, Ramirez regained eligibility at the keystone in addition to third base heading into 2018, further burnishing his credentials as a worthy selection in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts.
Ramirez could play second base to start the season if Michael Brantley (ankle) isn't ready for Opening Day, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Manager Terry Francona said that Jason Kipnis is the top name on the second base depth chart, but Kipnis could move to the outfield to fill in for Brantley if needed. This would force Ramirez to slide over from third base to the keystone. This could work out nicely for fantasy owners, as it would likely help the 25-year-old maintain his eligibility at second base into the 2019 season. At this point, it's mostly speculation, but regardless of where he plays, Ramirez should hold plenty of value in 2018 after a breakout season in which he slashed .318/.374/.583 with 29 home runs and 17 stolen bases.
Ramirez went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBI and a walk in Cleveland's 10-1 victory over the White Sox on Friday. The infielder was the catalyst for the Indians' offense in this one, helping the team chase White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey in the third inning. Ramirez now has 55 doubles and a .953 OPS on the season, thanks in part to the .411/.451/.889 slash line he's produced in his past 30 games.
Ramirez went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI on Saturday against the Mariners. Ramirez led the Tribe on an 11-run rampage in an easy road victory. He's clobbered eight home runs this month, as he's been absolutely on fire at the dish, and he's certainly helping fantasy owners at the most important time of the season.
Ramirez is not in the lineup against the Angels on Thursday. Ramirez will head to the bench following two straight starts, which came on the heels of a minor hamstring injury that forced the 25-year-old to miss a pair of games. The infielder is likely going to receive a few games off here and there leading up to the playoffs over the next couple weeks. In his place, Erik Gonzalez will man the keystone while batting ninth for the series finale.
Ramirez (hamstring) is in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Angels. Ramirez sat out the Indians' last two games to give his sore hamstring a rest, but he will be back in action Tuesday following a team off day. As he has done regularly of late when in the lineup, Ramirez will man the keystone and hit third in the Indians' batting order. He will look to pick up where he left off, having tallied eight hits over the last four games he started.