For the first two months of the 2021 season, Ramon Laureano played like an MVP candidate.
He was one of the Oakland A’s best hitters, he crushed dingers, he stole bases, he made highlight catches in the outfield, and of course his arm is so legendary that we call him Laser. The full superstar package was coming together.
- Laureano: .257/.332/.503, 133 wRC+, 11 HR, 8.3% BB, 26.8% Ks, 8 SB, .368 xwOBA
However, the end of May brought a minor glitch. Laureano strained a hip, right as the team was scuffling a little bit, and he’d need to sit out a couple weeks on the injured list. It ended up costing him 17 games, though fortunately the club managed fine without him, going 12-5 and heating up with the June weather.
Now he’s back, and he picked up right where he left off. Ramon was activated Wednesday morning and played in the afternoon game against the Los Angeles Angels, and he was as electric as ever.
In the 4th inning, with the Angels leading 4-0 and looking to pile on more, Justin Upton launched a fly to deep right-center. Laureano ranged back to the wall and leaped at the perfect moment, making the catch to rob Upton. Replays from the side angle showed that it would have gone over for a homer if it hadn’t been caught.
Four minutes later, Laureano came to bat in the bottom of the 4th. The second pitch he saw was a changeup hanging up in the zone, and with a mighty rip he got every ounce of it. At 106.5 mph off the bat, it traveled 404 feet into the LF seats.
That was the A’s first run of the game, and they later added seven more in a comeback victory. Everybody chipped in as the day went on, but it was Laureano who flipped the momentum in the 4th. The Angels were cruising, and he shut off their scoring valve with an emphatic grab and then sparked his own lineup by snapping their early string of zeroes.
Perhaps the most amazing part is that this isn’t the first time Laureano has pulled this exact feat. Back on May 2 against the Orioles, with the score tied in the 8th, he made a catch at the wall to rob what would have been either a homer or a go-ahead double. In the bottom of the frame, he stepped up and homered to push Oakland to victory. (Then he hit the game-winning homer again the next day.)
Don’t run on Ramon, don’t hit it to Ramon, don’t pitch to Ramon, and don’t mess with Ramon. Laser is back, and he’s fully operational.