The images of Wilson Ramos going down to the ground in a heap of pain while pointing at his knee was hard to watch. After the game, Dusty Baker did not want to speculate on the severity of the injury and said that an MRI would be done on Tuesday.
“There’s always a level of concern when you lose a guy of that caliber,” Baker said. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for [us]. We just got to next man up. We got some guys that have to pick it up.”
Next man up is of course what you do as the Nationals need a catcher, but there is not another catcher in baseball with the stats that Ramos has. On point, Ramos got the rally started in Monday’s game, and has been responsible for so many wins this season. His .307 batting average was just a small part of his contribution. His clutch stats were even better with a .333 batting average and .397 on-base-percentage with RISP (runners in scoring position).
In high leverage spots, Ramos got even better batting .349 with a .398 on-base-percentage. All of his clutch stats remained good even after Ramos had a slump from mid-August to early September, and Ramos still had two games where he hit home runs to lift his team in 1-0 game winners beating the Giants and the Mets.
“Worry does no good,” Baker said. “Even concern does no good. I feel badly because you know how we all feel about Wilson. But it’s part of the game. You hate for it to happen this late, right before the playoffs, but our next step is try to figure out a way to play without Wilson. I’ve been mixing and matching this year and most of my life. Therefore it’s another obstacle and I just got to try to go back to the drawing board and figure out something.”
Besides being one of the most popular players, Ramos earned that popularity through his interaction with the fans as well as his statistical dominance as an All-Star catcher. The man they call the ‘Buffalo’ and chant ‘Wilsonnnnn’ has played in 131 of the team’s 156 games this season which included an 18 inning game and both games of a doubleheader like he did on May 14th. The catcher position is the most physically demanding position in baseball, and Ramos got few days off except for when he went on the bereavement list to attend his grandfather’s funeral he was off April 25th to May 2nd. From that game forward through August 24th, Ramos had only 9 days off. Almost four full months with only 9 games off seemed to take its toll as Ramos’ stats took a big hit, but as mentioned Ramos kept up the clutch stats.
Wilson Ramos has racked up 80 RBIs this season, and 10 of them were game-winning RBIs while the other catchers have combined for just 9 RBIs this season. The depth chart has Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino as those next guys up. Ramos is set to be a free agent after the season. Last week news broke that the Nationals offered Ramos a 3 year extension which he reportedly turned down.
Accidents happen. Injuries happen. The throw home by Ryan Zimmerman was offline and very high. Ramos leaped over a foot off of the ground and landed awkwardly on his right leg which was the same leg he injured years before.
“I just threw it home,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “Stephen [Drew] was behind me and was obviously yelling, ‘Four’. I threw it home and that’s really the last I saw. I haven’t seen the play yet. I think you guys see [Ramos] is obviously a leader. Catcher is a very important part of your team. They do a lot of other things than what the numbers show. He’s obviously very important.”
Players are replaceable, but special people are not. We will follow Dusty’s lead and not worry while hoping for the best for Wilson Ramos.