Major League Baseball
José Ramírez's reaction to Angels pitching around him: 'I'm better than Barry Bonds'
Major League Baseball

José Ramírez's reaction to Angels pitching around him: 'I'm better than Barry Bonds'

Updated May. 27, 2024 6:42 p.m. ET

Cleveland Guardians slugger José Ramírez has been a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, but he still flies under the radar enough to be termed "the most underrated superstar in baseball."

Underrated by many, that is, but not by Ramírez himself.

In a sign of respect to this season's current MLB RBI leader, the Los Angeles Angels pitched conservatively to Ramírez in a close game with the bases loaded on Sunday, and Ramírez ended up walking to bring home what would become the difference in a 5-4 Cleveland win.


Any team doing that to a feared slugger instantly brings back echoes of Barry Bonds, who famously drew an intentional walk with the bases loaded in a 1998 game between his San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. When a Guardians reporter joked with Ramírez that he received the "Barry Bonds treatment" on Sunday, Ramírez's response shows just how much self-confidence the 31-year-old has.

"I'm better than Barry Bonds," Ramírez told the reporter.

[Related: Barry Bonds should be a Hall of Famer, says former MLB star David Justice]

Ramírez may never reach the gaudy numbers of Bonds' heyday of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he has assembled a very impressive career in his own right. Since his first All-Star season in 2017, Ramírez has a .279/.359/.529 slash line and 136 OPS+. He's also been especially hot lately, with a .362 batting average and 1.243 OPS since May 13. Angels manager Ron Washington's decision to pitch Ramírez conservatively makes even more sense considering Ramirez had already hit three home runs during the Guardians' three-game series in Anaheim.

Ramírez is also a big reason why the Guardians are one of baseball's biggest surprise teams this season thanks to a rejuvenated offense. Cleveland is 36-17 (.679) — behind only the Philadelphia Phillies (38-16, .704) — and leads a shockingly strong AL Central Division.

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