It is easy to sit back and talk about who the most indispensable player is for the Oakland A’s. Matt Chapman could have made a claim to that role prior to his struggles over the past two years. Matt Olson has the power and the defense. But it is Ramon Laureano who is the most important player on the roster – the heart and soul of the A’s.
The A’s were without Laureano on Friday as he is considered day-to-day with right groin tightness. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
Oakland A’s cannot afford to lose Ramon Laureano
Laureano has been one of the A’s more productive hitters thus far in 2021. He has produced a .257/.332/.503 batting line, hitting 11 homers and eight doubles while stealing eight bases. His 137 OPS+ through this point in the season marks a career best, and ranks third on the A’s.
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That does not include his defense. He has been stellar as usual in center, saving eight runs and notching three assists even though teams do not run on him any longer. He leads all AL centerfielders in range factor, putouts, and runs saved, while those eight runs saved is tied for second amongst all AL outfielders.
But Laureano is more than just his production in the lineup and his excellent defense. He has emerged as a leader on the A’s, a player whose fire and passion are contagious. He seemingly has that ability to come through in the clutch, either with the bat or the glove, whenever it is needed. In fact, no player in baseball has done more to improve their team’s chances of winning over the past 162 games than Laureano.
Those aspects may not show up in the box score, but they are evident whenever Laureano is on the diamond. His presence makes the A’s better, as his fire and drive rub off on the roster. He does his part as a leader while he has become an underrated star in Oakland.
The Oakland A’s need Ramon Laureano in the lineup more than his numbers may indicate. For their sake, they hope his injury is as minor as it seems.