Name: Yefrey Ramirez
DOB: November 28, 1993
Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Slider.
Fastball. Ramirez isn't a pure power pitcher but he isn't a soft-tosser either, sitting more in the 91-94 mph range. He can top out in the mid-90s but it isn't often. The fastball doesn't show a whole lot of movement either but what he lacks in higher-end velocity and movement he more than makes up with natural strike-throwing, solid command, and a bunch of deception. More of hip-turner on the delivery end, somebody who will have his back to the hitters in the wind-up at one point, it isn't easy to pick up Ramirez's release point. That unique look creates a lot of deception and with just enough little arm-side action movement-wise it gives batters the appearance his low-90s fastball is coming in a bit quicker. Considering he hasn't been pitching all that long too -- last year was just his fifth year ever on the mound -- there could be a bit more velocity-wise to come as he irons out his mechanics, builds up arm strength, and adds weight to his still very projectable frame. It's an above average pitch right now with room for improvement and the fact that he can maintain his velocity deep into starts is a very encouraging sign.
Other Pitches. Ramirez doesn't really have a knockout secondary pitch yet but both are solid big league offerings despite their inconsistencies at times. His breaking ball is a slider, one that can sit in the 80-85 mph range with good lateral movement. It is a solid strikeout pitch but it's also a pitch he can inadvertently throw a bit loopier as a curveball. Ironically, it can be both a negative and a positive, and he's learning to do it on purpose a bit more. The changeup is a quality big league average pitch too, one that he can also throw for strikes very consistently. Unlike the breaking ball it's more of a contact out-pitch currently although it is does show a bit more long-term promise given the fade and depth it can show at times. He's more about throwing both secondary pitches for strikes, even in fastball counts, more so than the movement his pitches generate though.
Pitching: Ramirez first and foremost is a natural strike-thrower, one who attacks batters strike after strike with an array of three different big league pitches and lives pitching ahead in counts. And for as many moving parts as there are in his wind-up delivery, he is actually quite good maintaining his form and command. It is pitching out of the stretch, however, where Ramirez still hasn't yet mastered things mechanically or even approach-wise. He can and will rush through his delivery pitching out of the stretch in the name of getting the ball to the plate as quickly as possible when he would be better served taking his time more, concentrate on making a better pitch, and focusing more on the batter than on the runner. He made some progress in that regard late last year but still has considerable room for improvement. He is quite athletic too but still has to refine his fielding position after releasing the ball and must work better on holding runners closer.
Projection. With three average or better big league pitches [all of which he can throw for a quality strike at a moment's notice], solid big league command, stamina, and deception, Ramirez safely projects as middle to [most likely] back-end big league starting pitcher someday, not a bad get for a minor league Rule 5 Draft acquisition. It is his feel for natural feel for pitching and throwing strikes at will that really stands out, and makes scouts confident in that eventual projection. However, while that is his best long-term profile at the current time, it doesn't tell the whole story either. There is some potential hidden velocity yet to be tapped, a bit more movement and consistency to be gained with his slider, a bit more left with the changeup, and there is a lot more in the tank mechanically that could not only help improve already solid command but perhaps unleash more of the said hidden power. That could push his projection more towards the middle of a big league rotation if things break right. While there are no physical comparisons between the two, there are some real similarities between Ramirez and former Yankee hurler Ivan Nova in that he may never get to his actual ceiling [which is considerable] but could prove to be very productive while trying to reach it, and like Nova he could pitch higher than his rotation slot might suggest on any given day.
ETA. 2018. Ramirez has little left to prove at the high-A level. He should get a steady diet of Double-A innings in 2017 and, a Rule 5 Draft potential loss every year going forward, the Yankees might challenge him a bit more in the coming years. He should be big league ready no later than the following year.