Harold Ramirez, once a top 100 prospect, was outrighted by the Toronto Blue Jays today. A 23 year old that used to have speed and bat-to-ball skills on his side, Ramirez has seen knee injuries rob him of the former. He was never a center fielder, and now has a ways to go to prove that he has the upside that his hitting tool once suggested he did.
But this may be a learning moment for Ramirez. Take a look at something Eric Longenhangen wrote this spring:
There are scouts who think Ramirez is a future plus hitter but acknowledge that it’s unlikely there will be more than 40 game power here at peak unless he drastically alters his approach. That offensive profile doesn’t play in left field without good defense, something I’m increasingly skeptical Ramirez will be able to provide. He hits, and therefore will likely find some sort of big-league role, likely as a bat-first bench outfielder.
Now take a look at all minor leaguers under the age of 24, graphed by their ground ball to fly ball ratio and speed score. Ramirez is in red.
It’s untenable to be as slow as Ramirez is now and hit as many grounders. That’s why he was released. He’s not a center fielder, so a decent hit tool alone is not going to float him to the major leagues.
But Ramirez is still young, and still has that hit tool — he was in the top 25 in the same grouping by strikeout rate — and another team may give him a chance. A chance to drastically alter his approach. And a release is just the kind of moment that spurs this kind of change.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.