For years, San Diego Padres outfielder Juan Soto has been widely acclaimed as the king of patience in the batter’s box.
That reputation is very much deserved: in 2023, he led the league with a whopping 132 walks and his ability to take his base has earned him a place in history.
However, there are other hitters whose patience is comparable to that of Soto, or nearly as good.
Mastering the art of swinging at strikes and taking pitches outside the zone is much harder than it seems.
However, Cleveland Guardians star Jose Ramirez has achieved it and then some.
Many hitters have three or four times as many strikeouts as walks.
J-Ram, however, has worked 546 bases on balls against 646 punchouts in his career for a very solid ratio.
In 2023, he had the same numbers of walks as strikeouts: 73 of each.
But his offensive game is more than just walks.
When pitchers intentionally walk you, it means one of two things: either you are very good and feared, or your teammates are, well, much worse than you.
In the case of Ramirez, it’s a little bit of both but the reality is that he, and not Soto, is the league leader in intentional bases on balls since the start of 2018, via MLB Now.
— MLB Now (@MLBNow) November 28, 2023
In 2023, Ramirez worked a career-high 22 intentional walks.
His .831 OPS, 36 doubles, five triples, and 24 home runs made him consistently dominant this past season.
There just weren’t too many Guardians with comparable numbers in the power department, and pitchers preferred to give Ramirez his base and letting someone else beat them instead.
The Guardians need to find a couple of powerful hitters for the lineup, in part to increase their runs output and in part to help Ramirez see better pitches.