It has become a long-running, annual joke that Alexei Ramirez will be terrible offensively at the start of the season and, when things warm up, the sunshine-loving Cuban will start hitting. Often such perceptions are inaccurate but, in Ramirez' case, the joke fits. In his five major league seasons, his offensive start to each of those seasons has been poor but he's also turned it around each time and finished the seasons with fairly similar, league-averageish offensive lines.
Since he appears to have a pattern, let's take a look at each prior season to see when he heated up for good. Baseball Reference's game logs keeps track of a player's season line to date so that's what I'll use to pinpoint when we can expect the shortstop to stop stinking. [Warning: Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.]
This was Ramirez' first season in the US and he was jerked around a bit defensively. He was the opening day centerfielder and played there for the majority of the first month and a half, with some shortstop and second base mixed in. Then, on May 15, he substituted in for an injured Juan Uribe at second base and never let go of the position.
Coincidentally, this is also the date on which Ramirez began a clear upward trend to offensive respectability. He entered that game with a .146/.163/.190 line. By June 8, he was up to .295/.326/.451.
With the departure of Orlando Cabrera, Ramirez moved to his natural position of shortstop. He rewarded the White Sox by not being quite so terrible at the start of the season. He muddled about basically below a ceiling of around .220/.250/.270 until May 22 - the start of interleague play against the Pirates.
The upward trend this season wasn't nearly as sharp. But he did achieve a respectable plateau of .275/.330/.410 by the first week of July and he stayed there for the rest of the season.
This season he came out of the gate a bit stronger than 2009 but he still was pretty bad. It was again the start of interleague play against the Marlins on May 21 that got him started. He went 2-4 with a double and a home run, a strong performance that pushed him above .600 OPS for the first time and he never again dipped below .613.
Like 2009, the upward trend wasn't that sharp. He got to a plateau of about .260/.300/.400 in the second week of June and stayed there for a month until he again used a hot streak to get himself to the .280/.315/.430 range in which he stayed for the rest of the season.
In contrast to prior seasons, Ramirez started the season strong, reaching a peak of .275/.356/.575 on April 12. But he rapidly fell off, plummeting to a nadir of .242/.309/.347 on May 7.
He then began a six week hot stretch that ended on June 18 with his line sitting at .298/.358/.436. From that point, he cooled off and stabilized around the .270/.330/.400 line with which he would end the season.
After a respectable start that saw him get to .295/.326/.364 on April 19, the West Coast swing that began the following day marked the beginning of a descent into an offensive black hole. As of today, Ramirez is batting .199/.216/.257 and there's no indication yet that his current downward spiral is coming to an end.
However, we are in the sweet spot of May 8 to May 22 in which he has invariably begun to heat up in the past. If you are a betting man, the elixir of interleague play that commences for the White Sox on Friday would be a good spot to guess when the turnaround will begin. With the way the offense is playing, they sure need Ramirez to stick to form and get hot this week.