Harold Ramirez Scouting Report (2014)
The 2014 season officially began last month with college baseball’s opening weekend, but winter lingers in the North. Whilst I wait for more pleasant weather, I wanted to revisit one of the most interesting prospects that I saw in the New York-Penn League (NYPL) last year — Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder, Harold Ramirez.
Listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, the first thing one notices is how thick Ramirez’s lower half is. He does not look the part of a teenage center fielder with strength concentrated in his thighs and a fairly well filled out frame. It is unlikely that he has finished growing, and additional bulk could diminish his athleticism, pushing him into a corner outfield spot down the line. For now, Ramirez is quite athletic in spite of his somewhat stout body composition.
Ramirez swings from the right side of the plate, employing a balanced, square stance. He shifts his weight onto his back foot before sliding his hips forward and getting his balance point forward early in the process. His pre-load movement creates a bat wrap as he brings his hands rightward and behind his body. Quick hands help negate the suboptimal starting position, and the bat wrap does serve as a means to create some space for him to decide whether to continue swinging or abort and take the pitch. The swing pattern is rotational, but the bat arc is tight and on a level plane with the ball. He takes aggressive swings and consistently finishes them well. It’s exciting bat speed.
Harold Ramirez shows a good feel for the strike zone, often taking borderline pitches off of the plate for balls. He looks for fastballs over the plate to drive and adjusts for breaking balls. He had little difficulty holding up on below-average breakers out of the strike zone, but Ramirez did lose balance and lunge at borderline pitches away; good hand-eye coordination often helped him foul pitches off in these situations. More advanced pitchers will prove problematic until he makes the requisite adjustments. His contact is to all fields, showing the ability to drive a middle-away fastball to right field in one instance and later turning on one on the inner half for a double to left field.
Over the fence power is not present yet, but he is capable of hitting home runs — he amassed 5 in 274 NYPL at-bats. That number will grow with maturity and swing refinement. Unfortunately, body maturation will negatively affect his speed; Ramirez, currently, runs well and must be accounted for when on base. He stole second base during the game in June and took third on a fly out to left field later in the game. Without an infield ground out, the best home-to-first time pulled was a 4.28 on a double.
Ramirez utilizes his speed well in center field. He covers significant ground and takes decent routes to batted balls. A couple of times during the game in June, balls hit directly at him caused Ramirez to take a first step in the opposite direction. The video from my August viewing (below) shows a better jump as he moves from left-center to right-center field to catch a soft line drive with facility. His arm strength is average, suitable for center field but stretched if asked to play right.
Harold Ramirez was the best prospect that I saw in the NYPL last year. In an organization flush with extraordinarily athletic outfielders with loud tools, Ramirez is overlooked. What he does offer is still enticing — speed and a knack for hard contact at a young age. As his body matures, the speed will decrease, making center field a stretch defensively. Should he move to left field, the demands on his bat will increase, and Ramirez will need to hit the upper end of his offensive projection.
Harold Ramirez’s Tools:
Tool Present Future Projected Role Above-average corner outfielder Hitting Ability 4 6 Power 3 5 Speed 6 5 Fielding Ability 4 5 Arm 5 5
I would like to thank everyone for reading my first article at ROTOscouting. Many of you may already be familiar with me from my work at Bullpen Banter; those who have made the trek along with Chris and me, I thank you for your continued support. If this is your first time, I hope you enjoy what I will be able to provide this year.
I additionally want to thank Tim Pozsgai (of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers) and Joe Putnam (of the State College Spikes) for granting me access and making this Harold Ramirez scouting report possible.
21 Mar 2014 / Jeff Reese / 2
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