The Washington Times - April 15, 2011, 09:38AM

When the Nationals traded reliever Matt Capps to the twins in midseason last year for catcher Wilson Ramos, they did it because they knew about the potential the young catcher possessed.

So far, Ramos has yet to disappoint.

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In the eight games Ramos has played this season, he’s hitting .455 with a .538 on-base percentage and he has gone hitless in just one of the six games he’s started behind the plate this year. That includes Thursday night when he was one of only three Nationals to get a hit off Phillies’ left-hander Cliff Lee.

The Nationals are going to keep increasing Ramos’ playing time but, to this point, he and Ivan Rodriguez have rotated every-other-game behind the plate. That could change this evening when the Nationals are facing Brewers’ left-hander Chris Narveson and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has said a few times that they’d also like to increase Ramos’ playing time against left-handers. It would be the first back-to-back starts for Ramos of the season.

Ramos’ performance is keeping his value skyrocketing. There aren’t too many teams that have a major league-ready catcher at age 23 who profiles as a power hitter in the future and is already hitting .455. 

But with the news coming out of Minnesota late last night that Twins catcher Joe Mauer will be put on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, Ramos’ value to the Nationals should elevate even more. 

That doesn’t sound like good news for the man who was blocking Ramos in Minnesota and is arguably the best catcher in the game.

From the Pioneer Press: “According to (Twins) general manager Bill Smith, bilateral leg weakness basically means Mauer’s legs are too weak to withstand the rigors of catching on a daily basis, and because of that weakness, Mauer was compensating in other ways. That, in turn, has led to a sore shoulder and a sore elbow.”

In his place, the Twins will likely turn to backup catcher Drew Butera, a 27-year-old with just 53 games of major league experience who is 2-for-13 this year. 

Looking back on it, the Nationals were obviously lucky to pry Ramos away when they could. I’m sure the Twins would gladly take him back right about now.