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Prospect Note: Neil Ramirez

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The Rangers sent pitching prospect Neil Ramirez to the Cubs last week to complete the Matt Garza trade. Here's a quick take on the newest member of the rapidly improving Cubs farm system.

Neil Ramirez
Neil Ramirez

The Rangers and the Cubs completed the Matt Garza trade last week, Texas sending right-hander Neil Ramirez to Chicago to finish off the transaction. I was traveling when this happened, so let's tie up that lose end with a Prospect Note.

Ramirez was a supplemental first round pick by the Rangers back in 2007, from high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His career has been erratic: at times he has been very successful, but he'll get roughed up now and then. He had a particularly awful time in Triple-A last year, posting a 7.66 ERA in 74 innings for Round Rock and getting sent back to Double-A. 2013 has been more successful but still somewhat uneven, with a 3.84 ERA in 21 starts for Double-A Frisco, a pleasant 127/42 K/BB in 103 innings, with just 77 hits allowed.

His component ratios are generally solid, but his start-by-start record is punctuated by occasional games where he gets simply blasted, which spikes his ERA.

Stuff-wise, Ramirez has a 90-94 MPH fastball most of the time, although he's gotten up to 97 in short stretches. He has a very good change-up, but he's had problems developing a consistent breaking ball, using both a slider and curveball with varying results. Although he usually avoids excessive walks, his command within the strike zone is also inconsistent.

Ramirez has been bothered by apparently mild but annoyingly persistent shoulder soreness over the last couple of years. It doesn't seem to impact his stuff, but it does seem to impact his command and is a caution flag in any event.

The general consensus is that Ramirez will wind up in the bullpen, where he can dominate in shorter outings and (hopefully) stay healthy.