Originally posted on Grab Some Bench  |  Last updated 8/16/13
Last year there were many people in and around the game of baseball, myself included, who felt like Alexei Ramirez should have won the Gold Glove at shortstop in the American League.  Ramirez had the best defensive year of his career, making both the spectacular and routine plays on a regular basis.  He posted the best fielding percentage of his career and was the best fielder on a team that committed the fewest errors and allowed the fewest unearned runs in the American League.  The White Sox defense was a key part of why they spent most of the season in first place in the AL Central. What a difference a year makes. This year Ramirez has struggled mightily at shortstop and the White Sox have long since surpassed their error and unearned run totals of a year ago.  The Sox have played poor defense all season long, which coupled with an inconsistent offense, has wasted solid performances by the pitching staff time and again and is a large part of why the White Sox sit in last place in the AL Central.  Exactly how bad has Ramirez been this year?  In order to know the answer to that we must go back and look at Alexei’s performance the last several years.  From 2009-2012 Alexei Ramirez played 5,444.1 innings at shortstop, more than any other player in Major League Baseball.  The next closest player is Elvis Andrus, 320 innings behind Ramirez.  Over that stretch Ramirez had the third highest UZR or ultimate zone rating, which ranks his double plays, range and errors and how they relate to runs above the average fielder.  It’s more or less fielding WAR.  Ramirez’s total UZR from 09-12 was 32.8 or about 8.2 per season.  Only Brendan Ryan and JJ Hardy had a higher total UZR and both those guys played more than a 1000 fewer innings at shortstop.  It could be argued that over the last four seasons, Ramirez was one of, if not the best fielding shortstop in baseball. This year Ramirez has a UZR of 5.5, a drop off of 2.7 from his career average, and ranks 7th in MLB.  He has already tied his career high in errors at 20 and barring a miracle will set a new career high.  He is on pace for 27 errors, which would more than double last season’s total of 12 miscues.  Here is the really scary part.  According to Chris Kamka at Comcast SportsNet, Alexei Ramirez errors have led to roughly 23 unearned runs this season.  I say roughly because several times this year the White Sox Bad News Bears-esque defense has committed multiple errors in the same inning leading to unearned runs so it is tough to know for sure.  Still, using the estimated number of 23 unearned runs, Alexei Ramirez has accounted for 43% of the White Sox total unearned runs for the season.  You think that’s bad?  It gets worse.  At this rate each Ramirez error leads to about 1.15 runs.  That means that if Ramirez commits 27 errors, which is what he is on pace for, he will account for 31 unearned runs, more than the entire team allowed last year.  Obviously the pitchers have to shoulder some of the blame by not being able to pitch over the mistakes but let’s be honest, there have been way too many mistakes to pitch over this season. Why the sudden drop off by Ramirez?  It’s hard to say.  He is still getting to balls and making plays that few other shortstops can make, which is one of the reasons his UZR isn’t lower this year.  The problem has been the routine plays or trying to do too much.  Ramirez had some high error totals before, committing 20 errors in in 2009 and 2010 but had cut his error totals down each year in 2011 and 2012.  For reference, Jose Valentin AVERAGED 23 errors a season during his tenure with the White Sox.  The difference to me was that Ramirez was making fewer errors on routine plays.  The skills are still there which is why I believe this has to be a mental issue with Alexei.  There have been several games this year where he commits an error, usually that leads to a run, and then just cannot get his head back in the game and commits another error.  The fact that the team is playing so poorly and was out of the race so early this year is also a factor, in my opinion.  Whatever the reason, it is most likely an issue between the ears.  The question is whether or not Ramirez can put this season aside and move forward.   
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Report: Jerry West considered rejoining the Lakers before they hired Magic Johnson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The NHL is thinking about hosting an outdoor game in Nashville

Michael Vick in talks to retire with Falcons

Hall of Fame pitcher and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning passes away at 85

Roger Goodell to speak at Rams event, tickets start at $550

Ohio State hails itself as the ‘fastest team in college football’

Get a look at Shia LeBeouf as John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe movie trailer

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker