TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #8: James Ramsey

Where will the 2012 first-round pick fit within an ever-crowded outfield picture in St. Louis?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

School: Florida State University

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
13 OF 12/19/1989 6-0 180 L R 2012 1st

Selected 2013 stats

PB 0.361 0.429 61 17 22 5 1 7 12 12 1 0.470 0.481 0.557 1.038
Spr 0.251 0.316 347 61 87 11 15 44 53 108 8 0.351 0.356 0.424 0.780
Mem 0.000 0.000 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Total 0.265   411 78 109 16 16 51 65 121 9   0.373 0.440 0.814
AFL 0.246 0.313 69 18 17 7 2 11 16 20 4 0.383 0.384 0.435 0.819

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (11): James Ramsey was the Cardinals' second first-round pick, taken 23rd overall in 2012. The community wasn't particularly high on Ramsey last year as he was the 23rd prospect. The 2013 voting was different as Ramsey moved up to twelve spots on the list - to 11th as voted by the community.

Given the signing-bonus Ramsey received, expectations were incredibly high as he entered pro ball but he had a troubling debut in 2012 with Palm Beach. All that was put to rest when Ramsey returned to Palm Beach to start the 2013 season and excelled. He hit .361/.481/.557 in only 18 games before being promoted to Springfield, where he was very productive at putting his game together after getting off to a slow start when he first arrived.

Not only did Ramsey make strides defensively, he even developed some legitimate power to all fields. Many of his homers in Springfield were to the opposite field though, so I don't think you will see as many homers to left field as he continues to move up. I do think in time you will see the pull power show up a bit more in game situations. Ramsey can take tough at bats and has shown that he has both gap power and over the fence power - coming from his smooth left-handed swing.

Ramsey may have the best makeup of any Cardinal prospect in the system currently. So there is absolutely no concern over his character, work ethic, and willingness to learn from his peers/coaches. That will be a plus when he faces adversity later on his pro career.

The one concern I do have is Ramsey may not have enough bat for a corner outfield spot and not enough defense for center as a regular. If he can handle center, Ramsey could take the role Jon Jay with St. Louis and perform to that caliber. Ramsey will fight for playing time in Memphis in 2014 with a shot at perhaps getting a September call-up. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (8): It is weird to say that a top 10 prospect in the system who was a first-round draft pick less than two years ago may be at risk of getting lost in the shuffle. Yet, I cannot help but wonder if that fate may be ahead for Ramsey.

A year ago, there was a backlash from some prospect watchers in the Cardinals fan base who held Ramsey responsible what they felt was a reach by the club selecting him so early and paying a senior such an aggressive bonus. Now that Ramsey has a season and a half of actual results on the field, these concerns seem to have melted away.

Instead, what we saw was a good but not great summer in 2013, followed by a credible showing in the Arizona Fall League. I did sense an over-aggressiveness at times from Ramsey at the plate. His strikeout rate of 29.4 percent was fourth-highest in the entire system, quite surprising when noting that his .373 on-base percentage was sixth-highest among Cardinals farmhands.

In parallel during 2013, the next player taken by the Cardinals after Ramsey in the 2012 draft, Stephen Piscotty, moved off third base, joining the outfield scrum. Piscotty joined Ramsey in Springfield in late June and the two also played together in the AFL.

One year ago, the two were ranked in succession at 12 and 13 in this top 40. After a stronger 2013, Piscotty has created a separation between the two in our 2014 rankings. That is far from fatal, yet as readers know all too well, outfield playing time in both St. Louis and Memphis is projected to be very tight this coming season.

Specifically, the arrival of Randal Grichuk from the Angels may have blocked off the possibility of Ramsey getting regular playing time in centerfield for Memphis. (I am not even focusing on the potential of Oscar Taveras returning to the Redbirds initially for 2014 or the factor a healthy Tommy Pham might become.)

As DTFlush noted, Ramsey is going to face a much tougher road to achieving a regular role with St. Louis if he has to compete as a corner outfielder only. As is the case with Piscotty, Ramsey is not yet on the 40-man roster, a benefit currently held by Taveras and Grichuk as well as Joey Butler and Mike O'Neill.

In his own words: In November from the AFL, Ramsey spoke about his 2013 season and more. Click here for our interview, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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