Where Does the Dynamic, Infield Duo Rank This Season and in History?
A Tribute to Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor
Shortstop, Francisco Lindor is one of the most exciting and outgoing players in baseball. His power from the leadoff spot and highlight reel plays on defense make him fun to watch. Jose Ramirez, the tribe 3rd baseman, has a rare combination of power and speed to help spark tribe rallies with a long home run or a well-timed steal. There’s no doubt in a Cleveland sports fan’s mind that young stars, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are one of the best batting duos in baseball, but do the stats back it up?
The fact that the Indians are fourth in baseball in first-inning runs scored per game is a good indication of how impactful Lindor and Ramirez are at the top of the order. Currently, they are each on pace to score over 115 runs this season (Ramirez – 116 and Lindor – 139). Lindor leads the league in runs scored (92) and Ramirez (77) comes in tied for fifth.
This year, they lead the league as a pair combining for 169 runs through 104 games, while the next best pair, Mookie Betts (84) and JD Martinez (76) combine for 160:
If Lindor and Ramirez continue their combined pace of 255 runs scored, they would be ranked the 14th best duo since 1953 and the fourth best pair of infielders (*Projected through end of season):
Ramirez and Lindor sure have found their pop this year. Lindor needs only 6 home runs in the final 56 games to tie his career high in home runs (33), while Ramirez has already surpassed his career high with 32 dingers thus far. Currently, Ramirez is on pace for 48 home runs, while Lindor is on pace for 41. It was common to see teammates hit 40 home runs each during the steroid era, but it has become much less common over the last 15 years (the last pair to accomplish this feat were Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez on the 2015 Rockies).
Ramirez and Lindor also lead all major league teammates in home runs combining for 59, again besting JD Martinez (32) and Mookie Betts (25). With Encarnacion’s 24 home runs, the Indians also have the league’s best power-hitting trio:
Wins Above Replacement
Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is an all-encompassing statistic that attempts to measure a player’s overall value compared to a “replacement-level player”. For a batter, WAR measures a player’s ability in batting, base-running, and fielding. Lindor and Ramirez, both speedy, power-hitters, with good fielding ability at difficult infield positions, are prime candidates for high WAR values. This season, using Baseball Reference WAR (August 1 data), Jose Ramirez is second behind Mike Trout (7.28 to 7.85), while Lindor is in fourth (6.28). Once again, by combining for 13.56 WAR, they lead all major league pairs this season:
On their current pace, Ramirez and Lindor would combine for 20.47 WAR. All time, a player having 10 WAR has only happened 57 times. So clearly two teammates combining for over 20 WAR is an extremely rare accomplishment. In fact, this has only been achieved once in history. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig combined for 24.17 WAR as a part of arguably the best team ever, the 1927 New York Yankees.
Lindor and Jose Ramirez are undoubtedly the best hitting teammates this season. They will also go down as one of the best hitting teammates in history. Surrounded by names like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Nap Lajoie, Ken Griffey Jr. and A-Rod is never a bad thing. If they keep this up, they will surely wind up with plaques in Cooperstown (Hopefully wearing block C’s).