Scouting Yankees Prospect #20: Jose Ramirez
;

Scouting Yankees Prospect #20: Jose Ramirez

The New York Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Jose Ramirez out of the Dominican Republic back in 2007. Possessing one of the highest ceilings in the entire organization, nobody arguably had a bigger bounce-back season last year than Ramirez.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jose Ramirez
Position: Pitcher
DOB: January 21, 1990
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He cut nearly two and half runs off of his ERA in 2012 from the previous year, seeing it go from a combined 5.66 ERA in 2011 between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa [his ERA in Tampa in 2011 was 8.14] to a much more respectable 3.19 ERA with the Tampa Yankees in 2012.

Behind the dreadful numbers in 2011, however, was some real late-season progress being made. In fact, as bad as he was during the season that year he was equally as dominating by the time Instructs rolled around last offseason.

"I saw a lot of my time out in the bullpen [at Instructs], but Jose Ramirez was just blowing fire by these guys with a really good slider too," then Staten Island pitching coach and current Charleston pitching coach Danny Borrell said. "Watching him, that was pretty ridiculous."

Known for his wildly inconsistent ways as much as his huge upside that year, Ramirez finally turned the corner with his breaking pitch at the end of 2011 and carried it over into the the 2012 campaign. That one pitch made all of the difference in the world and it turned him into a much more consistent pitcher.

In fact, Ramirez gave up more than three earned runs just twice in his 21 games in 2012, and the better slider was a big reason why.

"At the start of the year I was struggling with the slider, so I was only going fastball and changeup," Ramirez said through the help of a translator. "Now I have the slider working much better and everything is going well and that's good for me right now."

"We just had to build his confidence in the pitch, through his bullpens and side work," Tampa pitching coach Jeff Ware said. "We just needed to show him the ability and quickness of his slider.

"In Spring Training I think he saw some signs of how that slider can be an effective pitch for him, and with this being his first year actually throwing a true slider, it is a very different pitch from what you were seeing him throw in the past.

"I think though once he started throwing the pitch in Tampa and seeing how it could be effective and just as good as his changeup going the other way, I think he is buying into the thought process we've been teaching him about it."

He bought into big-time and it was a major reason why he even threw six perfect innings in a start this past season [he was taken out because he reached his pitch count] against one of the best teams in the league, the St. Lucie Mets.

"Being that this is his first year [with the slider] we're real excited he uses it, has a decent feel for it, and can throw it for strikes," Ware added.

"The biggest thing is he kept it down in the zone and he located it, not just down but to the glove side. Sometimes in the past it would back up here and there. It was just so consistent"

Already boasting a plus-plus fastball and a plus changeup before attacking the breaking ball, now that he has three go-to pitches in his back pocket him reaching his sky-high ceiling is starting to become more of a possibility.

"I've heard he was a really inconsistent pitcher," one rival AL East team official said, " but every time I've seen him the guy is un-hittable. That kid has a big-time arm and I've never not seen him throw pitch with command. He could be something."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2012

Tampa

7-6

0

98.2

92

30

94

3.19

2011

Tampa

0-5

0

24.1

35

11

25

8.14

2011

Charleston

5-7

0

79.0

84

32

74

4.90

2010

Charleston

6-5

0

115.0

106

42

105

3.60

2009

Tampa

0-0

0

3.0

1

0

2

0.00

2009

GCL Yankees

6-0

0

61.0

33

16

53

1.48

2008

DSL Yankees2

0-3

0

39.0

35

18

39

4.15



Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Slider.

Fastball. Ramirez has one of the truly special power arms in the organization. He'll sit anywhere from 92-96 mph in the beginning of his starts and once he is stretched out later in games he will average 95-96 mph routinely. It isn't just the power that is impressive, however. He can command his fastball extremely well and it shows very good movement too, especially for a pitch as hard as his.

Other Pitches. What makes Ramirez's fastball all the much better is his plus changeup. It is the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise, gets great fade and depth, and just like his fastball he has very good command of his changeup. It is a good strikeout pitch for him. The biggest difference in his game has been adding the power slider, a pitch that he can throw for strikes in the zone and one that he can put even more break on outside of the zone. Sitting 84-86 mph on it, it has really aided his confidence against right-handed batters and it too is another strikeout pitch.

Pitching. The positives in Ramirez's game are big-time major league weapons; a plus-plus fastball, a plus changeup, and an above average slider that has plus potential if he can command it more consistently. Throw in his ability to consistently command his fastball and changeup, he can be unreal. Where the great game does sometimes not come together is in his makeup. He can get rattled easier than most and despite having one of the most special arms in all of professional baseball his confidence, ironically, can be lagging at times. He's unstoppable when he is on top of his game but things can spiral out of control when he's not.

Projection. Stuff-wise, Ramirez has either frontline starting potential or real big league closer type abilities but it's the mental game that could knock him down a peg or two projection-wise. Like most pitchers he is only as good as his confidence and that's the last part of his game that remains inconsistent. He has all the physical attributes to be a game-changing starting pitcher or closer, he simply has to believe it and pitch like it with conviction. A little Rafael Soriano-like in his younger days, Ramirez has the kind of bullpen potential but even more starting potential because of the great changeup. Ideally he's a starting pitcher but the makeup could shift him to the bullpen if he gets off to a slow start in the beginning of his career as a starting pitcher. He offers the Yankees some long-term role flexibility.

ETA. 2014. Ramirez is all set for Double-A Trenton in 2013 and he is the perfect candidate to slowly break into the big league level as a reliever first to build up his confidence before eventually trying him in the starting role, and that means a big league arrival in 2014 seems very likely.

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

Become an annual subscriber today!