Despite a long track record of success, Luis Ramirez has never received much respect from scouts. One reason for this is that Ramirez has always been old for his level, and he turned 24 years old in the middle of his first season in the Carolina League. Ramirez does have a long, athletic frame in his favor, although his age does not leave much room for projection.
DOB: 6/09/82 Height: 6-4 Weight: 202 B/T: R/R
Luis Ramirez's age 24 season:
Considering Ramirez‘s history of success, the lack of hype surrounding his prospect status is a pretty good indicator of his arsenal. He works predominately with a fastball that is typically 87-89 MPH. It has late movement, but he rarely spots it low in the strike zone. Many scouts feel that Ramirez's success can be attributed to the fact that it is difficult for batters pick up the ball out of his hand, a trick they feel is unlikely to be as effective as he moves up through the system. In fact, even Frederick Keys pitching coach Blaine Beatty told ITW, "Ramirez throws a lot of fastballs up in the zone and gets away with a lot of them up there. It's tough for hitters to catch up with that. The ball takes off late out of his hand. He's got some deception there and that's been his biggest asset."
Working so frequently in the upper bounds of the strike zone has consequences, however. Ramirez had a very uninspiring 0.45 GO/AO rate, which coupled with Harry Grove Stadium's offensive environment to cause him to allow more than his share of home runs. Luis Ramirez also works with a breaking ball and a changeup, neither of which are considered better than fringe-average.
Ramirez also has work to do with his motion from the stretch. Although he generally attacks hitters in any situation, Ramirez loses some of his ability to hit his spots on the margins of the strike zone with runners on base. This has led to a few big innings for the opposition and is something Ramirez will have to correct, particularly if he is confined to bullpen work at higher levels.
For the diehard prospect watchers, Ramirez ranks among the most interesting players to watch for 2007. While scouts have long questioned that his success would translate to the upper-minors, Ramirez will be moving into a cozier pitching environment in Bowie. Ramirez will be given an opportunity to make the Baysox rotation, but his long-term role is most likely as a utility pitcher/long-relief type. While it has been easy to overlook Ramirez‘s ability to miss bats in the lower minors, similar success in 2007 could ensure him a major league career.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com