08 August, 2006

MLB Debut - Ramon Ramirez

Colorado pitching coach Bob Apodaca had this to say about 24 year old righthander Ramon Ramirez back in May:

"[When Ramirez arrived at Spring Training] ... his back leg, his knee, would really collapse, creating a very flat plane to the plate ... I didn't see it. The other pitching coaches did because we were assigned different pitchers and catchers during Spring Training, and we discussed the guys. He had a good arm, a quick arm, and everything was flat and up.

"So he and I had a discussion that lasted about five minutes when they were playing catch in the outfield. I told him, 'This is what I'm seeing, but this is what I need to see. So how do we do that?' He just made a subtle adjustment on his back leg, still getting some flex but not collapsing, and he immediately took to it. He took it from that simple five-minute session, took it right into his side work, and was very impressive in his spring debut for us."

Those little adjustments have helped make Ramirez an essential component in the Rockies 2006 bullpen. Okay, he won't get to save Game 7 of the World Series, but the Dominican has taken big steps in his first MLB season.

Ramirez, picked up in the Shawn Chacon trade in July 2005, made his debut on 14 April against Philadelphia pitching 2 innings of relief allowing one hit and striking out two. Colorado lost 10-7.

Ramirez was used almost exclusively as a starter in the Minors though he started his pro career as an outfielder in the Rangers system back in 1997. His next stop was a brief stint in Japan with the Hiroshama Carp in 2002 - by then he was pitcher - and was signed by the Yankees in March 2003.

It was an up and down Minor League career and in 2005 the Yankees more or less gave up on Ramirez before he was packaged in the Chacon deal. Ramirez can bring the heat and had a Minor League career K/IP ratio of about 1:1. The rap is that he's a thrower rather than a pitcher. He can throw a decent curve, but has no changeup to speak off. However, with his mechanics improved, he's certainly become more of a pitcher this season and fits the bill as a power reliever.

He pitched 14 innings of relief to start his MLB career before allowing a run. Despite a rough July, (as of 8 August) he still leads Rocks relievers with a 2.80 ERA and sports a nifty 1.04 WHiP.

The Baseball Cube


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