Prospect of the Day: Jose Ramirez, 2B, Cleveland Indians

Jose Ramirez - Mark Cunningham, Getty Images

Although he hasn't ranked highly on most prospect lists, Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez went from Low-A to the major leagues in one year. He looks to boost his reputation this September.

The Cleveland Indians promoted infielder Jose Ramirez to the major leagues this month. He was playing in the Midwest League a year ago. He turned 21 last week and is currently the fourth-youngest player on any major league roster. Despite his youth, he hasn't received a lot of attention outside Indians circles. Let's change that and see what they have here.

Ramirez was signed by the Indians as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2009. He made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2011, hitting .325/.351/.448 with 12 steals in 194 at-bats. He opened 2012 with three games for Mahoning Valley in the New York-Penn League, but was quickly promoted to Low-A Lake County, where he trashed Midwest League pitching with a .354/.403/.462 mark in 277 at-bats, stealing 15 bases, with a 24/26 BB/K ratio.

This impressed the Indians enough that he was moved up to Double-A for 2013, skipping High-A. He played 113 games for Akron this year, hitting .272/.325/.349 with 38 steals, 39 walks, and 41 strikeouts in 482 at-bats. In the big leagues so far this month, he's 4-for-12 (.333) with two walks and two strikeouts.

Ramirez isn't big: he's listed at just 5-9, 165. A switch-hitter, his best tool is plus/plus running speed, as well as simple athleticism. He lacks distance power and saw his wRC+ decline from 145 in 2012 to just 88 this year; he didn't show much pop against Double-A pitching. Scouts feared this would happen which is part of the reason he didn't rank too highly on most prospect lists pre-season.

That said, he still made contact, kept his strikeout rates reasonable, and makes a good-faith effort to work counts. He lacks the physical projection to become a power hitter, but given his young age and his ability to make contact, I would not write off his bat. Similar players have been known to blossom as hitters when they get into their mid-20s.

Ramirez has played second base, third base, and shortstop. His arm and range fit best at second, but his skills will work as a utility guy. He is still learning to use his speed effectively on the bases and needs to improve his stealing efficiency, but this is also something that should improve with experience.

He probably needs a year of Triple-A to improve the stealing and perhaps gain some additional strength. Overall, he's not going to hit .350 at higher levels, but I think there's more here than his .674 OPS in Double-A implies. He should improve enough to be a speedy utility guy at least, and there's some chance he can be a regular second baseman. The Indians agree; he wouldn't be in the majors otherwise.

More from Minor League Ball:

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Join Minor League Ball

You must be a member of Minor League Ball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Minor League Ball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker