Neil Ramirez Scouting Report (2009)
Neil Ramirez has struggled some as a professional after being the 44th selection of the 2007 amateur draft. Known for his high caliber, but very raw repertoire including a moving fastball which sits consistently in the 90’s and a hammer curve ball, he’s a high ceiling arm worth monitoring. However, due to control issues and the lack of a true third pitch, Ramirez remains a huge risk/reward prospect who is just as likely to fizzle as sizzle going forward.
Physique and Athleticism: In seeing him both during the game and in street clothes, Ramirez looked every bit of his listed 6’3”, 185 lbs. With his current frame, I can see him adding 20-25 pounds while keeping his athleticism due to his having some size through the shoulders and hips. While athletic, Ramirez struggles to repeat his motion and even looks a bit awkward on the mound at times. He does, however, incorporate his entire body into his pitches leading to a rather violent, max effort delivery.
Mound Presence: In cruising through his start relatively unscathed, Ramirez resolve wasn’t really tested as he was staked to a huge lead and never looked back. One item worth mentioning was his hitting two out of three batters at one point with a seemingly insurmountable lead. The pitches were not made to deliver a message. They were simply “brain farts” where Ramirez simply lost his control. On a night where Ramirez retired the first nine batters he faced and threw very well, his body language did not exude confidence and he was not particularly efficient with his pitches.
Fastball: I spoke to a scout who had Ramirez consistently in the 91-93 MPH range throughout the outing. In the bullpen, the pitch tailed in on the hands of right-handed hitters and showed rise when up in the zone. Location is what keeps the pitch from being a plus offering as his struggles locating the pitch in the bullpen carried over into the game somewhat. During his stellar outing, he was “wild in the zone.” I can only imagine the pitch on a night where he struggles to find his control.
Curveball: With impressive 12-5 break in the bullpen, the pitch had tight rotation and enough downward action to make batters swing and miss. At 75-78 MPH, his velocity is where it should be, but once again, the consistent location is lacking for it to profile as anything more than an average offering. I also suspect locating his curve ball is what’s keeping him from higher strikeout totals.
Changeup: At 80 MPH, he threw the pitch maybe a handful of times. It was a rudimentary offering at best. Make no mistake, at this point in Ramirez’ development, he’s a two pitch pitcher and with consistency and control issues, there’s no guarantee he will be able to develop a somewhat consistent third offering.
Ramirez strikes me as a polarizing prospect that will leave some tantalized by his potential two plus pitches and others underwhelmed by just how much work needs to be done for him to profile as a solid big league starter. The path of least resistance for Ramirez is to become a two pitch reliever with a potential for a late inning role. With no real third pitch and persistent command issues, he’s going to need to make a huge step forward at some point to keep up with the other young Ranger arms if they already haven’t pass him by.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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