Take my Breath, José
José Ramírez (CLE): 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
Watching every motion in my foolish lover’s gaze. On this endless ocean, finally, lovers know no shame.
If those two sentences don’t describe José Ramírez, I don’t know what does. José Ramírez hit 3 home runs Thursday, 2 from the right side, and 1 from the left side, in a Guardians win over the Red Sox on Thursday. Their team captain showed up and moved the Guardians one step closer to .500 baseball, which in the AL Central, means a playoff spot.
Is José Ramírez the most underrated star in the MLB? I think he is. Each year it seems like he carries his small to mid-market team in Cleveland that has always been good or at least close to good, but many times it gets overlooked. The loss to the Cubs in 2016 didn’t help their popularity chances. I will always remember you Rajai Davis, your star still shines bright in the Klusmire household.
The Guardians were unable to stop Cubs fans from being insufferable because of 2016, and I choose to think this is why many baseball fans overlook the boys in Cleveland. 2023 hasn’t started like many, including myself, thought. In the PitcherList staff picks for who will win the World Series, I went with the Guardians over the St. Louis Cardinals. Both picks are looking really really good. I haven’t told anyone this so keep that under your hat.
José Ramírez is a bonafide star on the banks of Lake Erie and it’s games like this that show it. And in case anyone forgot, he’s 30 and has a bWAR of 41.8. This is a player that is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Francisco Álvarez (NYM): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
The Mets/Braves game Thursday was honestly one of the best of the year. There are going to be a few names from both sides in this article, which means I am also going to miss out on a few others. I want to include everyone, but I do not have the space.
So far so good with Francisco Álvarez I mean, he’s been one of the Mets’ best hitters. For once in my life, even with Álvarez being a top 10 prospect, it feels like a New York prospect is going under the radar. In Thursday’s romp, he had a double dong to go along with a walk (have to showcase the walk). Álvarez is also getting shining reviews behind the plate and it really feels like the Mets have found their backstop for years to come. His swing is incredible, his defense seemingly sparkling, and his smile could move mountains. If there is anything wrong with Álvarez, we haven’t found it.
Austin Riley (ATL): 4-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
To continue on with this insane Mets/Braves game, which the Braves did win 13-10 thanks to an Ozzie Albies walk-off home run, Austin Riley went 4-5 with a home run, 3 runs, and 2 RBIs. Riley is such a great story for fantasy but also for baseball. Feels like a distant memory when the Braves called him up, and he literally could not hit a breaking pitch. He’s made quite the adjustments and now is one of the premier talents in the game. He’s getting into the “there’s not much else to say” territory because he is truly just good. He was a major part of the Braves victory on Thursday.
Travis d’Arnaud (ATL): 3-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
One more and then I swear I’ll only talk about like 2 other players from this game. This is the second time d’Arnaud has shown up on a Batters Box when I have been writing the article. Who would’ve guessed? Not I. d’Arnaud has kept his already impressive career going in Atlanta, turning into quite the offensive weapon. So much so that they felt comfortable moving William Contreras in the Sean Murphy deal. He is the perfect backup catcher who honestly, would be a starter for most teams. He too was a huge part of the Braves’ win on Thursday with 3 hits, 1 being a home run, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, and, of course, we have to mention the walk. The Braves are again insanely good, and that lineup top to bottom (even Michael Harris is heating up) makes them a scary contender.
Luis Robert Jr. (CWS): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
These are great numbers from La Pantera, which is his nickname according to Baseball Reference. I thought it had something to do with Cuba and the 60s. Robert Jr. has been on my dynasty fantasy baseball team since 2018; I selected him 6th overall in our minor league draft behind Keston Hiura. Since he’s been in the league, Robert Jr. has done nothing but flash superstar potential. Health has been his one issue so far, but in 2023, I’m not going to jinx it. That’s all I’m going to say, I’ve been burned too many times, and I love Robert Jr.’s game. Here’s to more games like this.
Ramón Urías (BAL): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI, SB.
The Orioles came back in Milwaukee thanks to a Gunnar Henderson oppo taco in the 8th. But, the main offensive piece in Thursday’s game was Ramón Urías. He has been a bit banged up to start the 2023 year but so far, he has proved himself to be a reliable utility player for the O’s. They have a ton of infield prospects on the way and I’m unsure if Urías can survive once they are up (Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, Coby Mayo), but for now, he’s been a nice addition to the lineup whenever the pencil him in.
Willie Calhoun (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The Yankees have been good at snatching nothing out of thin air lately, air joke not intended. Calhoun has been solid for the Bronx Bombers so far in 2023 providing a much-needed spark at the top of their lineup each night. If I was told Calhoun would be a major plan in the Bronx for the 2023 season, I would’ve looked Brian Cashman deep in the eyes and asked him nicely to reconsider. But hey, games like this out of Calhoun are just what the doctor ordered. I don’t see him as a fantasy asset, but for AL-only leagues, he may slot in nicely.
Jake Burger (CWS): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Jake Burger at one point went up against Michael King and the internet didn’t know what to do with itself. The idea that Burger King was seen anywhere besides those terrible Whopper commercials was too much for many. We’ve all looked at Jake Burger’s statcast page, right? Red where it counts, and blue where it says he’s patient. The White Sox came into Blade Runner 2049 I mean Yankees stadium and actually played quite well. Burger has been a great surprise this year, the home run total should continue to rise.
Nolan Jones (COL): 3-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
Hey, a Rockie. It’s not often I get to talk about a Rockie doing well, so what a day it is. Nolan Jones is the type of player the Guardians could really use right now, even though Will Brennan has been on a tear. After yesterday’s moon shot, Jones followed it up with a 3-3 performance on Thursday where the Rockies gave up another late Giants rally to get swept. Jones is here to stay, we hope. My god we hope. The Rockies love to not keep prospects up. So far in 2023, Jones has been fantastic and should be a part of the Rockies, confusing, purple, depressing plans moving forward.
David Peralta (LAD): 4-5, 2 RBI.
I can’t not talk about a 4 hit game. There were a few other hitters who showed up on Thursday hitting home runs (Orlando Arcia, Chris Taylor, Thairo Estrada, Michael Conforto, and Gleyber Torres, to name a few), but 4 hits need to be shown as well. Peralta is enjoying some Dodgers magic in 2023 and his 4 hit game against the Reds showed the fairy dust. The talent was always there in Arizona, but he only ever played 120ish games each year. Not to mention, those contending teams were flawed and I don’t want to talk about Archie Bradley’s triple in the 2017 wild card, can’t you see I’m crying? Peralta is going to get some playing time this year but it may not last with James Outman, Andy Pages, and Jonny DeLuca waiting in the wings.
Ozzie Albies (ATL): 1-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
I couldn’t not mention Ozzie Albies hitting a walk-off home run to win it over the Braves in Thursday’s thriller in Atlanta. Ronald Acuña Jr. had an incredible game as well, shout out, but hitting the game-winning home run, in a game full of offensive upside, I had to go with Acuña’s best friend Albies. The Braves don’t really need to find a groove, the groove has been found. Their rotation is a bit of a problem but everything else is clicking. Albies isn’t the home run machine he was in 2021, but with 13 home runs already in 2023, maybe he actually is.
Brandon Nimmo (NYM): 1-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
To cap it all off, the kid from Wyoming hit a grand salami in the aforementioned insane Braves/Mets game on Thursday. Nimmo isn’t much of a power threat, but right now his OBP is sitting at .373, which is quite nice. The Mets are playing inspired Mets baseball right; couldn’t draw it up more Mets myself after the off-season they had. I still am of the mind that they do not suck and they just need to get right, and the one guy that can help them do that is the heartbeat of the lineup in Brandon Nimmo.