Wilson Ramos is currently third on the Nationals with 7 home runs. He has done that on 41 fly balls, for a HR/FB rate of 17.1%. But Ramos has also hit the ball on the ground in play 103 times. Throw in his 37 line drives and that’s a ground ball rate of 56.9%. For a guy as slow as Ramos, how can that be good?
Ramos has always hit the ball on the ground, however. His career ground ball rate is 54.3%. He has a career average of .206 on those grounders. That is below average, as you’d expect.
Meanwhile, he hits fly balls 27.5% of the time for his career, and homers on 16.6% of his flies. That’s better than the career rates of Jose Bautista (16.5%), Todd Frazier (15.8%), Adam Jones (15.2%), Adam LaRoche (15.0%). It’s better than a lot of players who are known for their power.
The difference, of course, is the in the fly-ball rates. Bautista has a career 45.5% FB% mark. Frazier’s is 40.8% for his career. Jones, 33.4%. LaRoche, 41.2%. And there’s Ramos with a paltry 27.5%.
But here’s possibly the most startling statistic: of 703 qualifiers since 2002, Wilson Ramos ranks 57th in HR/FB and 648th in FB%.
Ramos clearly has power just from watching him, and when he gets the ball in the air, he can hit it out. When he hits it on the ground, his speed makes him less likely than most to reach base.
So why is he hitting the ball on the ground more than half the time?
There might be a good answer to that question, but if he starts to hit more fly balls, there might be a rather less good answer to this question:
Why didn’t he start doing this sooner?
(Cross-posted at federalbaseball.com)