The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Aramis Ramirez in the twilight of his last season. The advance storyline was almost perfect. The last Pirate to ever play in Three Rivers Stadium that is still active was coming back. The “one that got away” was coming back to provide some offensive power and push an already talented team over the edge.
It didn’t quite work out that way at first.
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Ramirez went 8-for-43 in his first 10 games as a Pirate, failing to instill confidence in the masses. Collecting only four RBI during that stretch while batting .186, Ramirez was met mostly with a “meh” reaction from Pittsburgh Pirates fans. Fast forward to his last ten days – a stretch comprising of August 21 through yesterday – and it is now a completely different story. Over his past ten, Ramirez is slashing .265/.342/,588 while mashing three home runs and 10 RBI.
If we take a look at some of the peripherals during this span, it’s easy to see what has fueled this mini-surge. Already a very patient hitter, Ramirez has lowered his strikeout-rate over the past 10 to a microsopic 2.6%, an improvement of almost 10% against his already-great 12.6% for 2015. The rest of the numbers tell the story for what we can expect from Ramirez. A low line-drive rate and decent ground ball rates suggest that Ramirez is something akin to “Pedro Alvarez 2.0,” a consistent home run threat without the headaches and propensity for bad strikeouts.
And that is exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates were hoping to get from him. As the team finds itself heading into the final month of the season, they must wring out every last bit of power left in Ramirez. He was not brought here to be a high-average guy. He was brought here to provide a consistent power threat behind Andrew McCutchen, and if his last ten games are any indication, that’s exactly what he is.
For all the hand-wringing over Clint Hurdle‘s lineup that occurs on a daily basis, Pittsburgh Pirates fans would do well to remember that every time they see his name in the lineup.