Prospect Profile: Jose Ramirez

J-Ram courtesy of RAB

Here comes the heat

Vitals

Drafted: RHP; Taken as an IFA out of Yaguate, Dominican Republic, June 10th 2007    bonus unknown

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 155  (no updates that i’ve seen on his stat pages but it looks as if he’s filled out a bit)

Overview

Many fans will remember Jose Ramirez as the guy who we “should have traded” back in 2009; instead we sent Arodys Vizcaino off to Atlanta for Javier Vasquez v2.0. Of course Vizcaino continued on the path to becoming a legit ML pitcher and Ramirez took a step back in his development while the angry villagers were out in full force, torches and pitchforks in hand. Over the following two seasons the tides didn’t just turn, they did a total 180. Vizcaino was moved to the pen for an August callup in 2011 and threw straight gas and aside from a 5ER outing he was quite stellar. Hopes were high coming into 2012 when it was learned that a previously torn UCL had finally given in and an appointment was scheduled with Dr. Andrews. Meanwhile, Ramirez was busy finding a breaking pitch he could get get a feel for and showed up in instructs in the fall of 2011 hitting triple digits and sporting a shiny new slider. He stumbled a bit out of the gate this year but righted the ship and had a succesful campaign. Let’s take a closer look…

The Numbers

Ramirez broke out onto the U.S. scene after pitching in the Dominican to roast the GCL League in 2009. He posted a 1.41 ERA while striking out 55 and walking 16 in 61 innings. That’s good for a 7.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, .781 WHIP and a .156 BAA. He then got a sip of coffee in Tampa to cap off the year with three scoreless innings. Smokin’. 2010 was rolling along as he posted a 3.6 ERA/3.04 FIP and solid peripherals; 8.2 K/9 3.3 BB/9, .239 BAA despite an injury setback. In 2011 the wheels came off as he couldn’t stay on the field for the duration, limited to 103.1 innings. His ERA/FIP rose to 5.66/4.2 along with a 1.568 WHIP, a rising BB rate and .292 BAA. Injuries weren’t his only concern however. While he sported two very good offerings, his breaking pitch left a lot to be desired. He toyed with a slurve and then sported a 1-7 curve, neither of which he could consistently find a feel for. Late in 2011 he began working on a slider which he brought to camp with him in 2012 and turned some heads. 2012 brought great things for the struggling pitcher; his ERA/FIP splits fell to 3.19/3.28, while his peripherals improved as well. His K rate stayed the same as 2011 but he walked a batter less per 9, shaved 332 points off his WHIP and got his BAA down to .239. This all with a shaky start to the year where he allowed 18ER in the first five games and 26IP. The highlight of his season came when he and fellow Tampa pitcher Branden Pinder combined for a 7 inning no hitter where Jose struck out 7 over 6 innings and walked one. His pitch count kept him from finishing what he started but a great start none-the-less. He was also the first Tampa pitcher to hit double digit K’s on the year. All in all a big step forward, and we’ll be looking for more as he enters his age 23 season.

The Stuff

Fastball: He’s got a serious power arm. His FB sits in the mid 90′s with late breaking action that he can command to both sides of the plate. He’s not afraid to bust hitters inside with it, inducing some weak pop-ups and roll-over grounders. He was reportedly running it up to 100 during instructs and got it up there again later this year as confirmed on the twitter-verse as “the first legit 100″ that an attending scout had seen in Tampa. In short, the kid has a big-time FB that is easily a plus pitch.

Changeup: With as good as his fastball is, the change might be even better. Yes…better. He runs it in the mid 80′s and the deception to it is ridiculous. Coming out of his hand batters have no choice but to suspect it’s the heat until they find themselves way ahead of it. The pitch has nice depth and fade to it, he can command it quite well and is not afraid to unleash it in any count. Reports are that his power change rivals Manny Banuelos as the best in the system. That’s says a lot. It’s a plus offering that flashes plus-plus. Deadly.

Slider: Here’s what could possibly bring him to another level. He’s struggled to settle on a breaking pitch over the years, and if he can command the slider the sky is the limit. It’s a legit swing and miss pitch when it’s on and gives him a real weapon to attack right handed hitters with. He gets it up around 85-88 and when he’s on he can throw it for strikes or run it off the plate. It is anywhere from an average to above average pitch that shows plus potential and will be the difference between being a starter and reliever.

Summary

After some ups and downs Ramirez looks as if he can make a charge at the upper levels. While he’s listed at 155 the videos that i’ve seen looks as if he’s packed on a few pounds to his svelte frame. With command of two plus to plus-plus pitches his floor is that of a solid reliever. Add in a solid breaking ball and we’re talking a ceiling of a #2 in an elite rotation. He has a free and easy motion with not too many moving parts and a strong finish to his delivery. He has good command and will throw his best two offerings in any count. He’s still a couple years away and has time to continue to develop his slider but right now he’s getting himself back on track and on the move. He’s been talked up by the likes of John Sickels and Kiley McDaniel as well as making Baseball America’s helium list. Barring any injury/developmental setbacks we could see him knocking on the ML door as early as 2015, and joining the likes of some of our other power arms such as Campos, Henseley and DePaula in a bid for a shot at the rotation in the Bronx. Since falling from grace Ramirez is getting himself back on the radar of the prospect watchers; he should be on yours too.

Here’s a couple of viddy’s of Jose fanning some batters; you might recognize these guys:

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Posted on September 8, 2012, in Minor League Updates, Player Analysis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. The Yankees have 10 of the top 54 Active all time Runs leaders on the team. That must be a sign of age.
    Also, among the top 54 active runs scored leaders that yankees had on the team several more players – damon, abreu, giambi, berkman, soriano

    all things being equal,, each team should have 1-2 of these guys,.. the yankees have 10.

    I dont see the AGE of this pitcher in the article. If he is good, he should be up.

    If he can step in and start next season and be good,…. that would be great. We need to get younger in all areas where we can, so we can sustain a winning way, before it is too late,…

    • 22 going on 23 years old Jim!

    • Jim….that was the best stat you ever put up! 10 of the top 50 on the active runs scored list means Cashman is valuing expereience waaaay too much.

      It seems the best teams always have a mix of youth, vets still in their prime and a few vets in their upper 30s.

      • they also have 7 players in the top 50 of the active career rbis list.

        i think the yankees ARE one of the best teams, have been for a very long time,…….. it is just that some big decisions are coming up like on cano, swisher and granderson,….. as well as pitching needs

        will andy come back next season, since he really didnt get to pitch that much this season?

        what to do with ichiro next season

        ibanez and jones — keep the bench as is?

        the decisions that are coming up are mind boggling

        • ps– and 8 of the top 50 active career hits leaders

        • The team has to re-tool.

          Cano must be kept as elite hitters who play up the middle don’t grow on trees.

          EVERYONE else is expendable and can be replaced. This is a big offseason coming up with the 2014 budget on the horizon.

          • I think I would keep;
            Cano
            Brett
            Nunez
            Dickerson
            along with the contracts we can’t get rid of….A-Rod, CC, Tex, any contracts we have past 2012 should be bought out.
            Pitchers is a bit different and to be thought out.

          • Fish – did you read on YA that TO doesn’t want to spend past 34/35 on Cano? He says Cano relies too much on bat speed for power?????

            • No I didn’t see that Twasp. No one WANTS to give out a long-term contract to pay people into their mid to upper 30s. However, that is the price to pay to get a big time Free Agent. It’s OK for the Yankees to do it IF they are very selective in who they do it with. Cano is one of the best hitters in the AL and plays a premium up the middle position. he’s proven in NY and a homegrown Yankee. Those are the type of guys you pay.

              To say he relies on bat speed for power is a puzzling statement. Everyone in baseball relies on bat speed for power! Cano has perhaps the smoothest swing in all of baseball. it is absolutely effortless. When do you ever see Cano overswing or take a home run hack…..never. He may swing at bad pitches but never does he take an Andruw Jones type hack out of his ass.

              The other argument I see not to pay Cano is that 2B don’t last. I’ve covered this b4 but Cano is not a typical 2B. He never gets taken out on the double play pivot and rarely ever leaves his feet. He’s been perhaps the MOST durable player in baseball over the last 4-5 years almost never missing games. And should he ever not be qualified to play 2B anymore, he has the arm to play 3B and the bat to play 1B.

              • Yeah, Fish, I thought it was funny , some of the pseudo-intellectual baseball analysis TO comes up with. “cano will not last because he relies too much on swing speed for power” Say whaaaat?

        • fishjam, I agree the Yanks need to get younger next year. I would let Swisher go for sure and maybe Grandy either next year or the year after. To win the Yanks will need to resign Kuroda and get another starter either Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson. As for the outfield I might go after Josh Hamilton and Tori Hunter on a short term deal. I would keep Dickerson as the fourth outfielder and resign Ibanez. If I can’t get Hamilton I would keep Grandy for next year. I also think the Yanks have to hope that their top prospects keep improving alot more than this year. The Yanks have had a bad year as far as injuries go, majors and minors.

          • Good plan Doug……only reservation is Ibanez……think we can do better…..this may be Ibanez’s lastnhurrah this season.

    • “All in all a big step forward, and we’ll be looking for more as he enters his age 23 season.”

      Well next year is probably a bit ahead of the game… i figure 2015 as a full time starter if all goes well. Next year in Trenton will be huge. If his slider comes along there is a good possibility he ends up in Scranton before the end of the year making a 2014 debut possible, even if it is later in the year. Barring injury he’ll have plenty of innings racked up in 2014 so the limit will be in the 180′s. They could always let him pitch out of the pen to cap off 2014 and then be ready for a full season the following year.

      Even with his minor setback he’s not exactly old for his level. People see guys like Felix and Trout debut in their teens and use the exception to prove the rule which is folly. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a guy under team control for their age 25-31 seasons.

  2. 23 already and still a couple years away? Hmmmmm

    • and if they are saying 23,.. it could be as high as 27,…… arent the internaqtional players imfamous for shaving years off their age?

  3. Ramirez is an interesting prospect. Anyone who can throw mid-90s with a plus change-up is intriguing. Look at Tampa’s pitching staff. Someone over there (Kevin Hickey?) has all those guys throwing devastating changeups. Fernando Rodney is dominating baseball with his FB/Change combo.

    Next yr is a big one for Ramirez as he’ll be in AA. He needs to stay healthy and show the durability needed to be a starter since the stuff is there.

    • The combination of power, command and an outstanding offspeed pitch alone have him throwing darts out of the pen. A legitimate third pitch has him looking at a spot in the rotation.

      He’s got the stuff, now it’s time to see if he’s a pitcher or a thrower.

      • Guys, Ramirez won’t be an effective starter until he masters a second off speed pitch with a larger >15mph diff vs FB.

        • He doesn’t have to “master” it to be an effective starter, he simply has to have a good feel for it.

          And by my math, he has ~15-20 mph of separation in his pitches, that’s plenty.

          • Ok JT, change my master to your feel for it if we are talking effective starter.

            Keep my “master” if we are talking elite starter.

            And your math should be the same as my math, so he’s already where I want him. Good.

            • He can “master” it in the majors and evolve into “elite”…I have no problem with that buddy!

              As far as breaking into the rotation as a rookie I’m fine with effective. Players don’t learn to be elite in the minor leagues; that comes with ML experience. Jeter wasn’t elite in ’96 was he???

  4. here is question to bet on –
    what will happen first jeter reaches 3500 hits, or arod reaches 3000 hits

    jeter is 226 hits away from 3500, it is possible he gets it by end of next season

    arod is 122 hits away from 3000 with only getting 103 hits this season, playing in 99 of the teams 138 games

    if arod stays healthy , he should get 3000 before jeter gets 3500

    ——————————–

    another question to bet on among friends would be who reaches 2000 runs first, arod or jeter

    arod has 1882 runs,

    jeter has 1855 runs,…..

    since start of 2008 to date, arod has scored 381 runs, jeter has scored 476 runs

    jeter should be able to surpass arod,… as arod home run production may be 25-30 a season at best going out– but can he overtake arod in runs before arod reaches 2000

    that is an intresting bet

    ———————————

    • That is an easy one, A-Rod needs only 18 runs and Jeter needs 45. Looks easy to say A-Rod should win but, with more and more teams throwing Leftys at the Yankees (Jeter kills them) and him a lead-off hitter it could very well be Jeter as the winner.
      Funny thing is, A-Rod would be knocking in Jeter a lot of times (we hope) to get him the win on this one.

  5. He’ll be 23 going into AA; not exactly far behind. If his clock doesn’t start until age 25 and he’s under control through his age 31 season i’m pretty happy about that. Let another team pay for their past 30 seasons.

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