The Nationals were once again affected heavily by injuries in 2015, but that was not the case for Wilson Ramos, who bucked a career trend to stay healthy and appear in a personal best of 128 games. Through all of the Nationals' ups and downs in 2015, Ramos was there behind the plate.
Ramos' offensive numbers, however, were not quite what many expected they would be if he could finally stay off the disabled list. He hit just .229 despite holding a career average of .269 prior to 2015. His .258 on-base percentage was way below his .301 pre-2015 career-high.
Ramos set several career-highs including hits (109) and RBI (68), but he expects more from himself overall at the plate as he works towards 2016.
"This offseason I am working three times more hard than last year," he said. "I know offense for catchers is not that important. It's more important for defense. But I like to help my team with my bat, too. This year, this offseason I am working hard for that. I am trying to get a better approach at the plate and try to concentrate on putting the ball in play. This year, I got a lot of strikeouts. That didn't help me. I am concentrating right now on all of that. Hopefully next season will be better than this season."
Where Ramos did thrive in 2015 was on defense. He caught two no-hitters thrown by Max Scherzer, was 30th in steals allowed despite catching the 5th-most innings of any catcher, ranked 11th in MLB in runners caught stealing and was first among NL catchers (2nd in baseball) in range factor.
His reliability and performance in 2015 earned Ramos a nod as a Gold Glove finalist. Ramos was included among the top three catchers in the NL with Cardinals' backstop Yadier Molina and Giants' Buster Posey as the other nominees.
That's pretty good company, and just being nominated was a high honor for Ramos.
"That made me feel really happy," he said. "All of my family and my friends and a lot of people in my country were very happy with that. Everybody told me all of the numbers I put this year were good for getting that award, but I don't know what happened. All my numbers were really good. Every night before I went to bed, I would [think about it]. My family called me every day. They were waiting until the last moment. But it didn't happen. Next year will be another year and I will try to do a great job."
Just staying on the field was an accomplishment for Ramos, who averaged just 64 games per season from 2012-14. But now he wants more, to become a more complete player in 2016 as the Nats' primary catcher.
"I was excited to play a lot of games. Staying healthy is the most important thing. Everybody wants to play a lot. I just concentrated on staying health and I hope to be behind the plate for a long time," he said.