Padres Prospect Interview: Yordany Ramirez

LAKE ELSINORE-- Now healthy, Yordany Ramirez has high expectations for the remainder of the year. With commanding presence in the outfield, it is his bat that he expects to make the jump.        

After struggling through the early part of the year, fighting off the injury bug that plagued him through spring training and the early part of the season, Ramirez says he is back to full strength for the first time this year. Since returning, the centerfielder is hitting .244 – way up from the .087 average he held to begin the year.

Talk about taking control of the outfield and how well you understand the position.

Yordany Ramirez: I have played five years in centerfield now. I just try to be more comfortable and see what the pitchers throw. If they throw hard, 95 miles per hour, I know this batter won't pull the ball. I try to position myself based on that.

When you play defense, the first thing you have to do is read the movement of the ball. Understand the guy and how he swings. Is he a pull hitter? Or is a guy who only makes contact.

You have also had a hand in positioning the outfielders on a daily basis, moving Peter Ciofrone into position. How can you help him?

Yordany Ramirez: Peter Ciofrone – I love this guy. It is his first time playing in left field. I try to be comfortable with him and try to make him comfortable. I stay a closer to him because I know he does not have much experience. He will be good because he has a lot of talent.

Where I move him is where I think they will hit the ball.

How has Tom Gamboa been able to help you, especially playing in the Diamond where it has that huge alley?

Yordany Ramirez: We have very good instructors. (Tom) Gamboa knows what he is doing and has many, many years in baseball. He was a big leaguer and he showed me how to play in centerfield a little more and I am learning what I need. Today, he told me right-center it is 342 so I can play a little more to the gap of 425 in left-center.

We all know about the defense, how are you making adjustments at the plate and what is the key to success?

Yordany Ramirez: I am just trying to make a little more contact with the ball. I am trying to put the ball in play because I can run. Just try and be relaxed; try to play the game like it is only a game. You have to take care of your business. Last year it was in my mind but I will get better this year. I will be more relaxed and take some walks. I was talking with Tony Tornicasa, my hitting coach, and he was telling me I just have to be relaxed and to be comfortable with myself. Just try and see the pitch and hit it. Don't try and hit the ball if it is out of the zone.

You have always been aggressive at the plate – do you feel you were too aggressive?

Yordany Ramirez: That is something I need to work on but I have a very good hitting coach and he will show me the form – how I can get better from last year. I believe this year I will be the best I can for this team. That is my approach and I will try and be different this year. I will get after the ball, bunt, whatever I have to do.

You were scheduled to be a part of the early hitter's camp in March but never made it. What happened?

Yordany Ramirez: Something happened in the Dominican Republic. I burned my arm and I talked with Grady Fuson and told him I am sorry. He is a nice person and is trying to make me play in the big leagues. All of the staff pushes me. They want me to play in the big leagues. I just have to take it with my hands.

You have always been linked as a player who is a potential "five-tool" prospect. How do you take hearing that?

Yordany Ramirez: If they say that it is because I try and hustle everyday. I tried to attack the ball, slide, do what I can to be on base, with my arm I try to get runners out. I just try and do the best I can.

When will people learn that they can't run on you?

Yordany Ramirez: They don't run often. They stopped. In the beginning they tried to run but in the second half they got smarter.

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