Scouting Padres Prospect: Cesar Ramos

Save the bullpen. When the Padres selected Cesar Ramos with their first round sandwich pick, the relief corps took a sigh of relief. The Long Beach State product is seen as an innings eater with three above-average pitches.

But Cesar Ramos came to the Padres after logging 126 innings with the Dirtbags. That meant a tired 21-year old.

He was sent to Eugene where he had bouts of inconsistency. The left-hander went 0-1 with a 6.53 ERA in 20.2 innings. His pitches were uncharacteristically up in the zone, as he surrendered three homers and walked six in his final 12.2 innings, including a four-walk outing.

The lefty was then shipped up to Fort Wayne where he punched the clock for another 38.2 innings to give him a grand total of 185.1 innings thrown for the year. He performed better with the Wizards, including a three-hitter over seven innings to open his tour in the Midwest League.

"He had 3-4 good games strung together and then became tired and got wild," Tye Waller, the Padres former director of player development, said. "He is 21 this year but mixes pitches well and hopefully will command three pitches."

Ramos had trouble throughout the year with runners on base and had trouble in general working from the stretch. The opposition hit .376 off him with runners on base and just .234 with the bases empty.

Ramos throws four pitches – a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He will not be accused of overpowering anyone but combines pitchability with command to produce results. His best pitch is his slider, which cuts into right-handed hitters and is tailor made to produce ground balls.

He performs well in setting up hitters and pitches to contact. His fastball normally rests in the 85-88 range but he hides it well and works predominately down in the zone. That allows him to see a lot of ground balls and lets the defense do the job.

Therefore, it was not uncommon to hear about defense and how it relates to Ramos.

"He will really get better as he moves up in the organization and the defense around him improves," Grady Fuson, the Padres vice president of scouting and player development, said. "A control pitcher that can make pitches."

As he wears down, his pitches will elevate in the zone and his softer stuff will become hittable, producing more fly balls. He won't be a high strikeout guy but will also keep the walks down to a minimum.

Stamina will be a concern for Ramos heading into the off-season. The Padres would like to bring him up the chain fairly quickly to take advantage of the better defenses and challenge him. He needs to be ready for a full year that comes with 160 innings or more on five days rest.

"You don't get drafted where he did and not get challenged," Waller said.

His inability to get out of tough situations was troubling this past year but it is unclear whether it was his mechanics from the stretch or fatigue that led him to pitch differently from that pitching spot. He must find a way to repeat the success he had from the windup.

"I think it is getting the ball out and up over the plate," added Waller. "His stuff has been crisp and it has been more location."

The California native profiles as a back-end of the rotation starter that will log a significant amount of innings by pitching to contact. That will, of course, also get him in trouble on occasion but his arsenal of pitches should be enough to keep hitters off-balance.

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