Could Jose Ramirez’s brilliant 2018 see him join a very exclusive club?

Jose Ramirez is chasing of history. The Cleveland third baseman is no stranger to record breaking, along with his infield teammate Francisco Lindor, but his latest potential record is a special one.

Ramirez could, with a strong September, top the American League in extra base hits and stolen bases. Only Alfonso Soriano has achieved that feat since 1945. (Via HighHeatStats)

The scale of such an achievement is impossible to overstate. It’s been a stunning couple of years for the switch-hitting infielder, but this would be something extraordinary. This is something achieved by just five players in the history of Major League Baseball, and only one since the end of the Second World War.

Ramirez currently has 74 extra base hits. Alex Bregman, the league leader, has 79.

Ramirez currently has 29 stolen bases. Whit Merrifield, the league leader, has 31.

The Cleveland infielder had a rough August, hitting just .245, after a very good July, when he had a .441 on-base percentage and slugged .722. Still being in position to break such a record after a dodgy month is testament to how good a year he is having.

A month or so ago, Ramirez was an MVP contender. The hope of an individual award has faded, but, even with his current slump, he is still well in the hunt to join an exclusive hitters’ club.
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Ramirez’s August troubles have extended to September, however. He is hitting .222 this month and has just one extra base hit. Bregman, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez – who all lead Ramirez in extra base hits – are showing no sign of slowing up offensively. To keep pace with, let alone overtake, that trio, Ramirez has to rediscover his remarkable form of earlier this summer.

His success on the bases has waned slightly, too. Having swiped 29 bags this season, Ramirez has been caught just six times, three of which have come on 12 steal attempts since the All-Star break. He was caught just thrice in 23 attempts before the midseason classic.

It’s still a big ask for Ramirez to join Soriano. It will take a turnaround of his form and luck (his BABIP was just .231 in August) but to even be in with a chance of leading the league in extra base hits and stolen bases in September is special.

In another year, or perhaps in the National League this season, Ramirez would still be in the running for MVP. Hardware is very unlikely for the Indians star, but the records he and Francisco Lindor are collecting deserve more recognition. That said, matching Soriano’s 2002 feat might just be the greatest achievement of the lot.

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Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play. Twitter: @SamRCox_