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March 22, 2005

by Fabian

SG's Season Simulations

Ramon Ramirez, 23, RHP

Similar to Estee Harris, Ramon Ramirez’s ranking has taken a big hit. He was at number 5 last year and is down 15 spots to 20 this year. Ramirez started the year off in AAA, a bold move considering he had only worked 21 AA innings in ’03, but more reasonable when factoring in his dominance of the ’03 AFL. His first 4 starts produced very poor results that resulted in a quick demotion to AA. The demotion did not stop the sucking and the Yankees finally found out that Ramirez was actually injured.

Based on the premise that a month and a half of pitching injured is bound to skew one’s stats, Ramirez’s healthy 2004 line looks like this: 99 innings, 92 hits, 48 runs, 47 earned runs, 9 home runs, 25 walks, 116 strikeouts. The ERA is still nothing to write home about, but the peripherals continue to be exciting. In addition, just having had the shoulder injury is a memorable negative because Ramirez’s being a short right-handed pitcher attempting to make it as a starter is tough enough without an injury history.

Despite the injury issue and his huge drop in the rankings, I’m still a big fan of Ramirez and was very disappointed when he was quickly cut from major league spring training. I still hold out hope that he can put it together as his mid 90s fastball and slider combination is very intriguing. It remains to be seen whether he can or will pick up an effective third pitch, which should serve to solve some of the long ball issues caused by a limited repertoire. And if that third pitch never comes along and Ramirez’s chance to be a solid starting pitcher remains unlikely as a result, I still have faith in him becoming a dominant reliever. I mean, he has Electric Stuff™ that I’m sure a sterling pitching coach like Mel Stottlemyre can work wonders with. And if you don’t believe that then you could simply place faith in his consistently good strikeout rates, consistently good walk rates, mediocre home run rate, and combine it with his scouting report and assume that at the least he has a nice bullpen future somewhere.

Before that future is consummated, the Yankee organization will give him another shot in the Columbus rotation for ’05, if he does well he’ll likely be called up at some point this year since every member of the Yankee rotation is a decent enough injury risk. I would expect him to be successful in a short big league stint and in his Columbus season, but with a likely long term future as a set up man.

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