Jose Ramirez's continued case for AL MVP – Key takeaways from Week 9 of Guardians baseball

Plenty on that as well as the growth and development of Eli Morgan as well as a record prediction update.

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Anyone and everyone who follows the Cleveland Guardians knows how great Jose Ramirez is. But, the season Ramirez is having with Cleveland is truly something special. So much so that if Ramirez keeps this up, and helps the Guardians keep on winning, he should be considered a serious candidate for AL MVP at season's end. But, we'll break down that and more, including the growth and evolution of Eli Morgan, in this week's edition of key takeaways.

Back to the article in a second since today, we have some brief housekeeping notes. On June 16, Right Down Euclid is partnering with Platform Beer Co. to have the first Right Down Euclid Community Happy Hour! It'll be from 5:30 p.m. EST to 7:30 p.m. EST at Phunkenship and all are welcome to come! Plus, for the first 50 people that arrive, drinks are on them!

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Jose Ramirez continues making a strong argument for AL MVP

Again, to the surprise of no one who follows Cleveland closely, Jose Ramirez is once again one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball. He is, again, on pace for at least an AL MVP finalist season, which would be his fourth in the past six years but an award he's never won nonetheless. And through all of that, Ramirez has been the anchor in the heart of the Guardians' lineup like he always has been.

What's different this year is the patience Ramirez has displayed while knowing he's the engine that drives Cleveland's offense, which might push him over the edge for taking home AL MVP. Ramirez is currently in second place for RBIs with 53 and is only one shy of New York Mets star and league leader Pete Alonso. He also has a .280 batting average along with 15 home runs, 12 doubles, four triples and eight stolen bases. Ramirez has also drawn walks at a higher rate than normal, posting a .386 on-base percentage entering Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers.

That percentage is good for the thirteenth-best in the MLB this season, with still plenty to go. Thankfully, the Guardians don't have to lean as heavily on Ramirez as much as they did in prior seasons as Cleveland ranks in the top seven league-wide in nearly every major offensive category. In turn, that means Ramirez has found the right balance of carrying the burden of being a run-producer when needed while also not trying to hit a five-run home run every at-bat.

That balance is helping further drive Ramirez's case as AL MVP. Again, there's a lot of baseball left to be played this season but, as the Guardians continue to win, the argument becomes a lot easier for Cleveland's top slugger.

Guardians relief pitcher Eli Morgan has grown into a "weapon" in the eyes of manager Terry Francona. Morgan's evolution is testament to how young and talented this team is. Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eli Morgan's growth has made him a "weapon" for the Guardians

Last year Eli Morgan arrived from Class AAA Columbus when Cleveland’s starting rotation was crumbling due to injuries. Morgan stepped up and made 18 starts, winning five, including his last three in succession. This year, meanwhile, with the Guardians’ rotation closer to healthy, Morgan made the club as an emergency starter/long reliever because of the lockout-shortened spring training. He filled the role well and when the expanded rosters returned to 26 players on May 1, Morgan stuck with Cleveland.

Guardians manager Terry Francona, in talking about Morgan, called him a “weapon” for the club. Morgan is 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 games with three holds. He’s struck out 31 and walked three in 23 1/3 innings. He has not allowed a run in his last seven games and has allowed just two hits in his last six appearances covering 8 2/3 innings. The opposition is also hitting .132 against him.

“He showed up this spring significantly stronger, thicker,” said Francona. “He gained good weight, by design. His fastball plays. There are times when you look on the scoreboard and it says 95 mph. There are other times it says 92, but he gets it by hitters.

“And the changeup, even when they sit on it, it doesn’t get there. He’s in a place now where he knows he belongs and he can pitch.”

“It’s good to know he wants me to feel good and he’s not just going to run me out there whenever,” said Morgan. “I’m getting used to the shorter outings and my arm is bouncing back really quick. So I should be able to do something like that more often.”

The Guardians are one of the youngest teams in professional baseball and have to continue finding ways for their youngsters to play. Situations like Morgan's are an encouraging sign of things to come and give a team like Cleveland an overabundance of assets as the trade deadline looms in order to maximize the team's overall potential.

The Guardians have entered a groove after crushing the Kansas City Royals. They appear to be primed to make a serious run at the AL Central. Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Updated final record, division championship odds and predictions for the Guardians

Every now and then, we'll check in on the Guardians and how they'll fare over the remainder of the season.

Despite having a .500 record, Cleveland was able to get a massively important series sweep over the division-rival Kansas City Royals. With the Chicago White Sox sliding and the Minnesota Twins within reach, the Guardians control their own destiny. With that said, it's time to update their final record prediction as well as their chances of making the playoffs and winning the division overall.

Final record prediction: 81-81

Chance to make the playoffs: 31%

Chance to win AL Central: 18%

Photo credit for cover image: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!


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