Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.
With Jason Kipnis on DL with a strained right oblique, Jose Ramirez will be a solid replacement.
Prospect coverage typically entails glorifying the tools of teenage athletes. Jose Ramirez will never receive that treatment. On the back fields, Ramirez is unassuming. He stands 5’9″ and weights 165 pounds, both potentially generous listings. Ramirez’s value stems from his polish and versatility.
On defense, Ramirez is adequate at third, short and second. He’s not an impressive athlete, but as an above average runner, he could play outfield as well. With Kipnis on the Disabled List Ramirez will spend the next several weeks as Indians’ starting second baseman, but his best chance to remain with club upon Kipnis’ return will be as a utility player.
As Carson noted Wednesday in his Fringe Five, Ramirez has hit well in the International League. Ramirez success starts with his approach. He tracks pitches well, identifying them early out of the pitchers’ hand. His knowledge of the strike zone and his ability to make contact are his greatest strengths. Despite reaching a career high in HR already, his power is not an asset. It’s unlikely he cracks double digits in his career. Overall, he could be a .270/.330/.400 hitter.
James Jones, OF, Mariners (Profile)
Level: MLB Age: 25 Top-15: N/A Top-100: N/A
Line: (Triple-A) 90 PA, 8.9% BB, 17.8% K, .313/.382/.450 (.371 BABIP)
The Mariners have sent down Abraham Almonte and recalled James Jones.
Through 29 games, the Mariners are a game under .500 with a -2 run different despite starting the worst hitting outfield in baseball (excluding the Astros). Only Michael Saunders has a wRC+ above 100. The rest? Dustin Ackley (79 wRC+), Stephan Romero (60 wRC+) and new Tacoma Rainier, Abraham Almonte (40 wRC+). Apparently fed up with the inept performance, the Mainers have recalled James Jones.
It’s hard to imagine the 25-year-old Long Island University standout could be much worse. Jones is a lean left-handed batter with contact ability and passive approach. Despite a 6’4″ frame, his power is quite limited and his game plays gap-to-gap. Even if he is just 80% of the league average, with adequate defense and a strong arm, Jones should be an upgrade over Almonte.