Scouting Mets' Prospect #21: Greg Ramirez

The New York Mets drafted Greg Ramirez out of Pepperdine University in the 22nd round of the 2003 draft. Used as both a starter and a reliever, Ramirez has had nothing but success in either role. Ranking #21 among the Mets' Top 50 prospects, here's a scouting report on Ramirez.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Greg Ramirez
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: September 12, 1980
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 210
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Greg Ramirez grew up in Oxnard, California and went to high school at Rio Mesa High School before attending Pepperdine University in 2000. It was tough for Greg to get any sort of consistent innings at Pepperdine with the likes of Noah Lowery and Dan Haren taking up some of spots on the pitching staff. Ramirez broke in as a middle reliever his freshman year before becoming the "mid-week" starter as sophomore, starting non-conference games in the middle of the week. For the first time in his collegiate career, Ramirez saw consistent innings his junior year in 2002. Ramirez was used primarily as a starter that year but also was tried out as the team's closer, an experiment that did not go over very well. "Coach Sanchez wanted me to close but it didn't work out at all. I was blowing saves just about every time I went out there", said Ramirez. Ramirez finished his junior campaign going 5-4 with a 5.96 ERA in 22 games for Pepperdine with the bulk of his earned runs coming when he was used as a reliever.

Ramirez was moved to the starting rotation full-time his senior year and fared much better. In 16 starts, Ramirez went 9-3 with a 2.88 ERA for the Waves. What was the difference? "I'm still trying to figure that out to this day", said Ramirez. "I was just trying to stay consistent and tried not to do too much out there I guess". Whatever the reason for the turnaround, Ramirez's fantastic senior year was the reason the Mets took a flyer on him in the 22nd round of the 2003 draft. When asked what it was like to be drafted by the Mets on that day, Ramirez was notably grateful: "I was pretty lucky. I am just so thankful that they (Mets) picked me".

Upon signing with the Mets in June of 2003, Ramirez was sent to Brooklyn to make his professional debut with the Cyclones. And just as was the case in his college career, Ramirez showed his versatility on the mound by starting and relieving for the Cyclones. After finishing among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Ramirez was promoted to begin the 2004 season with the Capital City Bombers. Once again used as a starter and a reliever, all Ramirez did was go a perfect 7-0 with 10 saves for the Bombers and earned a South Atlantic All-Star nomination in the process. Finishing with four fewer inning than needed to qualify for the SAL league leaders (he had 96 innings and not 100), Ramirez's 2.06 ERA was better than the league leader's 2.17!

Without being a high draft selection, Ramirez knows he is going to have to put up the numbers to earn the respect he seeks as a burgeoning pitching prospect in the Mets' system. He has been the model of consistency in his short time with the Mets and has done everything asked of him. When asked whether he would rather be a starter or a reliever, Ramirez does not play coy. "I'll be a starter. It's something I have my sights set on", said Ramirez. "It's cool to be in the game (as a reliever) needing three outs in a clutch situation, but I prefer to be a starter. I like going six, seven, or even eight innings. It's just something I'd rather do. But whether I'm starting or relieving, the bottom line is it all depends on how well I perform."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

Capital City

7-0

10

96.0

81

28

105

2.06

2003

Brooklyn

1-3

1

51.2

51

17

48

2.96


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Ramirez throws a 2-seam fastball and a 4-seamer, although 90% of his fastballs are of the 2-seam variety. His 2-seamer averages about 88-91 MPH and he can bring it as high as 93 MPH at times. It has very good sinking action. He throws his 4-seam fastball at no particular time, just when he's in the mood.

Other Pitches. Ramirez has a hard curveball in the 69-72 MPH range. With a 12-6 curve to it, Ramirez is using his curveball as his out pitch right now. He's currently working on developing his slider that he started working on a lot more towards the end of the 2004 season. Coach Waits has been working with him on that pitch and Ramirez believes his slider could be an excellent out pitch for him down the road, possibly a #2 or #3 pitch. Ramirez throws a decent changeup in the 78-80 MPH range.

Pitching. Ramirez is not a max effort guy. He has an effortless delivery and bases his breaking stuff off of his fastball. He challenges hitters right away with his fastball and then starts pecking away at them with his curveball and changeup. He throws his fastball inside and outside with a purpose, mainly setting up his breaking pitches. Once he has mastered the slider, Ramirez could have a solid four-pitch repertoire and already has excellent command of his pitches. He's as consistent as they come.

Projection. Ramirez has been used as both a starter and reliever in his short career with the Mets, and while he'd prefer to start, he has thrived in both roles. The word is the Mets plan on using him as a starter for the foreseeable future. We'd like to see Ramirez stick to one role on the staff before we project where he's going to wind up, but we'll say he projects more as a reliever even if he is used as a starter in the minor leagues. Ramirez is one of the more versatile pitchers in the Mets' system and could be an excellent setup guy with his great control.

ETA. 2007. Ramirez is going to have to continue to post the fantastic results as he climbs the minor league ladder. He's not a "money" guy, meaning he wasn't a high draft pick and he's going to have to fight for what he wants. In just two short years he's proven himself to be a very, very solid pitcher. He'll start off the 2005 season in St. Lucie and will most likely earn a quick promotion to AA-Binghamton with some early success in the Florida State League. Barring injury, Ramirez could find his way to Shea by 2007.

Starting Pitchers

2004 Team

Aaron Heilman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Bob Keppel

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Brian Bannister AA - Binghamton Mets
Yusmeiro Petit AA - Binghamton Mets
Miguel Pinanago A - St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Vincent Cordova A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Evan MacLane A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Scott Hyde A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Michael Devaney A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Joseph Williams A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Mike Swindell A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Gaby Hernandez R - GCL Mets


Comments

The Mets have some good pitching prospects and the system's depth is only going to get better with the additions of Alay Soler, Matt Durkin, and Philip Humber. Considering they have not pitched a professional inning in the Mets system as of yet, we'll focus on the pitchers that have. Among the Mets' pitching prospects, Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez seem to have the highest ceilings simply because of their age and talent. However, the Mets do have a number of other good pitching prospects that still have time on their side to make their mark. The following starting pitchers are currently in our Tier One group...the top starting pitching prospects in the Mets system.

1) Aaron Heilman - Heilman struggled out of the gate in 2004 but was perhaps the hottest pitcher in the entire Mets' system the second half of the year. All Heilman needs is a chance. Give the guy 30 starts and see what he can do. But that day may never come with the Mets as he appears to be in New York's doghouse. It's a shame too. He's a better pitcher than people think.

2) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel struggled mightily to begin the 2004 campaign but finished the year strong. Keppel's always had the repertoire and pitching ability to become a Major League starter. The question has been his strikeout rate. Still only 22 years old and seems forgotten.

3) Neal Musser - With the trade of Scott Kazmir, Musser becomes the Mets' best left-handed starting pitching prospect. A top prospect a couple of years ago, Musser was beset with injuries and had a bounce back year in 2004. Musser is still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten.

4) Brian Bannister - His stats do not accurately portray how good a pitcher he is. Bannister has four plus pitches in his repertoire and has the chance to be a front-line starter someday. Remember, Bannister has only been pitching for 4 seasons...two in college, two in the pros. So as good as he is, he is still learning which is a scary thought.

5) Yusmeiro Petit - The Mets #1 pitching prospect the minute the Mets traded Kazmir. Forget about the pundits and all their talk about lack of "stuff". Petit knows how to pitch at such a young age (19). Drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, Petit has the ability to change speeds on his fastball and is very deceptive on the mound. Bottom line is he's been baffling hitters from the word go.

6) Miguel Pinango - Pinango was cruising through the Mets system until an injury in St. Lucie ended his season in 2004 after just three starts. Pinango's command is superb. Only Petit's command is perhaps better and even that's not a lock. Still only 21 years old (he'll be 22 by the start of next season), Pinango is still a very good pitching prospect for the Mets.

7) Kevin Deaton - Growing up as an offensive lineman, Deaton is an imposing figure on the mound. Like Pinango, Deaton's rise through the system hit a speed bump in 2004 when he was plagued by injury (tendonitis). His fastball tops off at 94 MPH with solid movement and is still only 23 years old.

8) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

9) Vincent Cordova - Cordova has the talent to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. Drafted out of college in 2003, Cordova needs to prove he can get hitters out at the higher level. Like Pinango and Petit, Cordova's success is predicated on his control. He's a Tier One prospect for now but time is not on his side.

10) Greg Ramirez - Used as both a starter and a relieve in his short career thus far, Ramirez is like Cordova. He has the talent and the stuff to be a Tier One pitching prospect for the Mets, but like Cordova, he's going to have to prove it at the higher levels to remain in this group. It's unclear how he will be used in the future.

11) Evan MacLane - MacLane gives the Mets' pitching in their farm system they seriously lack: quality left-handed pitching among their starting pitching prospects. MacLane was dominating South Atlantic League hitters in 2004 before being sent to Brooklyn where he had the same success. MacLane should be challenged in 2005 and will most likely be part of the St. Lucie staff. Like Ramirez, Cordova, Petit, and Pinango, MacLane is all about the control. He has great command of his pitches.

12) Scott Hyde - Hyde was not scheduled to pitch in live games this past season after being drafted but still managed to showcase some good pitching in his stint with the Cyclones. Hyde has the chance to be the "sleeper" among the Mets' 2004 draft picks.

13) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney is very solid. As is the case with most of the Cyclones' rotation, he'll have to duplicate the same success at the higher levels to remain in the Tier One level of starting pitching prospects.

14) Joseph Williams - Like Devaney, it's hard to dispute the success Williams had in Brooklyn this past season. The fact that he's a lefty aids his chances to be challenged quickly in the Mets' farm system.

15) Mike Swindell - Another college arm that was drafted in 2004 that will have to quickly prove he can become a solid starting pitching prospect for the Mets.

16) Gaby Hernandez - The Mets' third round pick in 2004, right now, Hernandez appears to be second behind Petit with the highest upside among the starting pitching prospects. It's too early to tell, but Hernandez has the talent to duplicate Petit's fast track through the minors.

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