A Silent Killer on the D.L.

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No Nationals fan even blinks an eye when it’s mentioned a player has gone to the D.L. this year. After seeing names like Harper, Zimmerman, Gonzalez and Span fall out for fifteen days or more, it’s just not a surprise. However, this latest trip to the D.L. by a player, despite his lack of star-power, may be more important than Harper or Zimmerman.

This player is Wilson Ramos. Ramos has had a terrible history with injuries. Since 2011, he has missed more than 54 percent of games with knee, elbow and hamstring injuries.

But when he’s healthy, the difference on offense is very large, as you can imagine. Ramos’ OPS is 20 points higher than his backup counterpart, Jose Lobaton, and his average and power are also much better. But the real killer difference is pitchers E.R.A. when Lobaton catches as opposed to Ramos.

Ramos' E.R.A when catching is significantly lower than Lobaton's.

Ramos’ E.R.A when catching is significantly lower than Lobaton’s.

As the graph shows, Lobaton gives up roughly .4 more runs when he catches. And while .4 runs doesn’t sound like a lot, that still means the Nationals have a better chance of staying even or taking a lead in the beginning of the game, which the Nationals are more likely to do with Ramos’ bat in the lineup. In fact, the Nationals are 17-12 with Ramos, and without, they are 18-21.

Pitchers quietly admitted last year that they prefer the way Wilson calls their games than Suzuki, and it is suspected the same things are thought of Lobaton.

When people ask you why the Nationals have suddenly cooled off, simply answer with Wilson Ramos. He is an all around player that gives the Nats the advantage when he plays – except for when he’s hurt.

 

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