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Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals for James Ramsey

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Justin Masterson
Justin Masterson
Jason Miller

The Cleveland Indians traded starting pitcher Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon. In exchange, the Indians receive outfield prospect James Ramsey. Here's a report.

James Ramsey, OF: A starting outfielder for Florida State University, Ramsey had an outstanding senior season in 2012, hitting .378/.513/.652 with 13 homers, 11 steals, 63 walks and 42 strikeouts in 233 at-bats. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round, 23rd overall. He had some scuffles with contact last year in the Double-A Texas League, hitting .251/.356/.424 with 108 whiffs in 347 at-bats for Springfield, though he contributed 53 walks and 15 homers. Returning to Springfield this year, he's been one of the top performers in Double-A with a .300/.389/.527 line with 13 homers, 31 walks, and 66 strikeouts in 243 at-bats.


James Ramsey, photo by Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

Ramsey is a 6-0, 190 pound left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, born December 19, 1989. Long a favorite of scouts for his hard-nosed style of play, Ramsey has average tools across the board and his work ethic is his most conspicuous strength. He has a decent eye and a consistent line drive swing. Scouts expect him to hit for average, which made his .253 mark last year in Double-A somewhat unexpected. He has a sharp platoon split, posting a .988 OPS against right-handers but just .728 against lefties this year.

He'll flash above-average power but his average running speed hasn't translated into large numbers of steals in pro ball despite success as a baserunner in college. On the other hand, he has excellent defensive instincts and is capable of playing all three outfield positions, running quality routes in center field and making accurate throws at all three spots.

Analysis: Ramsey's bat is a bit short to start regularly at an outfield corner but he should be a productive platoon player and should have a long career as a fourth outfielder who can handle center field. I think he's a legitimate haul for a 29-year-old pitcher with a 5.51 ERA.

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