When Boston Red Sox prospects are discussed, right-hander Noe Ramirez is often an after-thought, yet he holds a spot on the 25-man roster as the season begins. Let's take a look.
Ramirez was a fourth round pick back in 2011 from Cal State Fullerton. He was an excellent starter in college but in pro ball he's been a reliever primarily.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Noe Ramirez, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-3 WT: 180 DOB: December 22, 1989
2012: Grade C+; 2013: Grade C; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C
Noe Ramirez has proven that his fastball/change-up/curveball combination will work in the minor leagues. The arsenal is marginal in the majors and he can get crushed if he makes a location mistake; a fastball that tops out at 91 gives you little room for error. However, Ramirez has been exceeding expectations since his days at Cal State Fullerton and it would not be a real surprise if he has a good year or three in the bullpen eventually. Grade C.
Ramirez threw well this spring with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings of work, fanning 12 with 10 hits allowed. His walk rate was higher than normal for him with eight free passes, and he'll need to cut down on that to hold down his roster spot. His best secondary pitch is his change-up; his breaking ball, technically a curve although rather slurvy, is just adequate. When his command and control are on, there's enough here for him to succeed but as noted, he doesn't have a lot of room for mistakes.
Ramirez posted a 4.15 ERA in 13 innings for the Red Sox in the majors last year with a 13/7 K/BB. I think that's about what should be expected in a larger sample. At present he is a passable middle man and mop-up guy, but if he can sharpen his command a bit more or improve the breaking ball, he could have some surprisingly good seasons. His makeup is considered excellent and I wouldn't under-estimate his chances to adapt.