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Elephant Rumblings: Can Ramon Laureano make a comeback in 2023?

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MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at San Diego Padres Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

Remember when Ramon Laureano looked like a budding superstar? It seems like an awful long time ago, as most pre-pandemic history does. The Laser slashed .288/.345/.508 with a wRC+ of 128 in his first two MLB seasons. On the defensive end, he wasn’t always consistent, but he made some phenomenal plays in the outfield. All of this was good for 6.2 fWAR across 657 plate appearances.

Things haven’t gone so well for Ramon since those 2018-19 seasons. He failed to maintain his momentum in the severely pandemic-impacted 2020 season. Laureano showed some spark at times during the 2021 season, but that progress was abruptly halted after he tested positive for a banned substance and received an 80 game suspension. Ramon sat out the rest of the season as the A’s fell into a slump and failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2017.

John Shea at The San Francisco Chronicle checked in on Laureano yesterday, and the A’s outfielder admitted that the PED suspension left him with “no confidence.” This was apparent enough in his on-field performance last season, in which Laureano posted career lows in batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS.

Shea suggests that recognizing the confidence issue is the first step towards overcoming it. He also cites newly signed veterans Jesús Aguilar and Aledmys Díaz as veterans who can provide moral support as Laureano strives to get back in the groove in 2023. Laureano also believes that this Spring Training is restoring a sense of “normalcy” to his routine for the first time since 2019 Spring Training. Be sure to check out the full story for more quotes from Ramon, teammates, and coaches.

Of course, if Laureano had kept on mashing, he’d not likely be with the A’s today. This would be a terrific season for a Ramon-aissance. Keep your spirits up and make us proud in 2023, Ramon!

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