The hiring of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo so far has had a positive affect on Alfonso Soriano (.295 ave) and Geovany Soto (.349), but the person you would think would be the least likely to struggle, Aramis Ramirez, is mired in a season-long slump.
The Cubs most consistent and clutch hitter the last several years is hitting only .145/.214/.303 on the year (through Monday's game). Which makes one question whether we should be worried whether Ramirez skills (or shoulder) are deteriorating or if he will eventually snap out of his funk.
The answer is, not yet.
First of all, Ramirez is typically a slow starter. His career .258 ave in April is by far the lowest of any month (the next lowest is May at .278). In fact, back in 2006, Ramirez hit .197 in the month of April and went on to hit .291 for the year.
Second, Ramirez has been unlucky. He has a career Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABip) of .289. This year, it is only .157. If we apply his normal BABip average to this year, he would have 20 hits and a .263 average. Not up to his normal standards, but certainly more respectable than .145.
On the flip side though, his strikeouts are a bit of a concern. For his career, Ramirez has only struck out in about 15% of his AB's. This year, his strikeouts have doubled to 30%. Perhaps he is pressing or he is tinkering too much with his swing, but something's not right.
Lou Piniella has already given Ramirez a couple days off to try to help him snap out of it. Its unlikely that Piniella would be crazy enough to bench Ramirez for an extended period of time, but then again this is the guy who was crazy enough to move Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen.