Prospect Reports: Ramirez Shows Tons of Upside, Garcia’s Power Returns

After every game covered, our writers submit player reports with observations from that game. The best reports are collected each week for this feature, where we usually feature about four or five players per level and the progress they’ve been making in the last week. This time around we have reports from three full-season levels. Below are the reports from our writers who covered games this week.

Ryan Palencer – Indianapolis

Keon Broxton (6/1 – 0-for-3, BB) – Ran the count to 3-2 before grounding out to shortstop on a knee-high 87 mile per hour fastball. Played centerfield for the first time in Triple-A and ranged far to his left and nearly made a tough play. Got up in the count 3-1 before striking out on a letter-high fastball. Came in hard and made a nice sliding catch. Went up 3-0, before earning a walk after getting the count to 3-2. Grounded out to the shortstop on a 3-2 count. Flew out to right on a 2-2 outside fastball.

Wilfredo Boscan (6/4 – 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR) – Got the change down in the 83 to 86 range. Was wild and all over the zone. Fastball was between 90 and 93. Worked very slowly with runners on base. Fell behind, which led to deep counts and elevates pitch counts. Mixed speeds well. Focused too much on base runners at times. Got elevated, allowing some solid contact. Was very hitable. Got inside and got better movement after the first inning.

Casey Sadler (6/5 – 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR) – Worked down in the zone and got nice movement on the sinker. Had the fastball between 88 and 91. The movement created the usual amount of ground balls, with 11 resulting in outs. Had good control much of the night. Allowed a home run to Jayson Nix on a two-seamer that broke back over the heart of the plate. Picked up a strikeout on a nice 84 mile per hour breaking ball. Had good rhythm and mixed speeds well. Fielded a pair of come backers well.

Sean McCool – Altoona

Angel Sanchez (5/29, 6/4 – 13 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 9 K, 1 HR) – In his last two home starts, Sanchez has thrown 13 innings while only giving up one earned run, which was a first inning home run on May 29th. Control of his fastball has been key in his recent strong stretch, having been able to locate it down in the zone in an attempt to induce more groundball outs. Pitching Coach Justin Meccage has also emphasized the location control of his curve ball as a great sign for Sanchez moving forward, as it is a newer pitch to him. Lastly, Sanchez has been able to get timely outs, as I’ve seen him get groundouts and strikeouts in high leverage situations frequently.

Willy Garcia (5/29-6/4 – 8-for-20, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR) – Willy Garcia began his tenure as the Curve’s most likely choice in centerfield, and he has taken advantage of the opportunity from the plate as well. In the recent home stand, he is 8-for-20 with a line of .400/.429/.900. The best sign from him is that the power numbers are starting to come back. After hitting a home run on the last game of the Curve’s road trip, Garcia hit two during the Curve’s Wednesday afternoon game. He also hit two doubles (both line drives – one to right and one to left), and he legged out a triple on a line drive to the left center field gap. Garcia looks comfortable in the field and at the plate recently.

Josh Bell (5/29-6/4 – 7-for-22, 2B) – Bell went 7-for-12 in the first two and last games of the home stand, but he sandwiched that with a 0-for-10 stretch in the middle. You can tell that Bell is a pure hitter. His hand-eye coordination is off the charts, even though his plate mechanics sometimes look unconventional or rigid. Bell has shown that he is a line drive hitter, likely to the gaps; however, he is still only picking up singles as a majority of his hits. He showed some speed and jump in Thursday by legging out a double on what should have been a long single.

Jose Osuna (5/29-6/4 – 9-for-19, 3 2B) – Osuna has begun his Double-A career with a five game hitting streak, and the hits aren’t coming cheaply. He had a double in each of his first three games, and they were all line drive hits. On June 2nd specifically, Osuna picked up three hits, with each of them being line drives including a double off of the center field wall. He has played left field since being promoted, a position that he is essentially re-learning from not playing there recently.

Zack Dodson (5/31 – 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR) – Zack Dodson had a very efficient outing on May 31st, throwing 84 pitches, with 53 of them being strikes in 6.2 innings. Dodson only gave up two runs with both of them being home runs to left field. He looked to be in great control of the game, only getting in trouble in the third inning with a couple seeing eye singles and walk, but he was able to induce a bases loaded ground out to end the inning.

Jeff Inman (5/29-6/4 – 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0 HR) – Inman has yet to allow a run this year in nine appearances. He began the season on the DL, but he has come out strong since he began the season in May. He got three straight groundouts for the save on May 29th. He came in for one out in the 7th on Sunday to strike out the batter. Lastly, he pitched two efficient innings on June 4th while the Curve were only up two runs. Inman has shown the capability to pitch in many different situations, and he was praised by coaches on what he has done since returning from the DL.

Tim Williams – Bradenton

Harold Ramirez, RF (6-1-6/5 – 5-for-13, 2B, HR, 4 BB, 5 SB) – Looks like the best pure hitter on the team right now, which is saying something since Austin Meadows and Jin-De Jhang both display great ability to make contact. Ramirez started hitting for some power this week, with a double and a home run. However, despite hitting for mostly singles prior to this, the power comes as no surprise to people who have seen him, since most of the singles were line drives that were well struck, and went right to fielders, preventing extra bases. He also displays a lot of power in batting practice, which hasn’t shown up in the games. He’s got a ton of speed on the bases, stealing seven bags in ten games this year, and only getting caught once. Defensively he’s got the range to play center field, and has a plus arm that apparently already has a reputation around the league, since no one has tested him yet in the games I’ve seen. Ramirez lacks in some areas (with in-game power being one of them), but he’s average or better across the board, and excels in some areas (primarily making contact), which means he could take an unconventional path to being an impact starter in the majors one day.

Jin-De Jhang (6/1 – 1-for-4) – Jhang was catching a lot of pitchers who had breaking pitches that were thrown low in the zone and in the dirt for strikeouts. The result was that he had a workout, blocking 18 pitches in one night. He’s a big catcher, but is quick and agile for his size. Aside from the blocks behind the plate, Jhang shows off decent speed on the bases. He beat out an infield hit to the left side for his only hit of the night. He also threw out a runner at third, getting Luis Heredia out of a jam.

Luis Heredia (6/1 – 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR) – Heredia had a better stat line in this outing than in previous ones, but the stuff had some issues. He was missing up in the zone a lot early in the start, although he corrected this and showed better downward movement on his fastball later in the game. He didn’t have good command of his curveball, with one sailing behind a right-handed batter’s head, and several bouncing short well before home plate. He benefitted on a few bad swings on the curveball, despite poor execution. One of his strikeouts came on a bad swing on a short curve, while the other two came on well placed fastballs. He was sitting 90-93 MPH.

Montana DuRapau, RHP (6/3 – 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR) – He pounds the strike zone with strong command of all four pitches. He throws a fastball, which has been in the 90-93 MPH range in shorter outings this year, along with a curve, slider, and change. He got quick and weak contact, needing just 25 pitches to get through 2.1 innings, with 17 of those going for strikes.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 7, 2015 10:33 am

    Is it possible that Ramirez is actually a better prospect than Meadows, if you discount where Meadows as drafted?

    • No. No it is not.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        June 8, 2015 10:17 am

        Give me reasons why….because I keep hearing that Ramirez is faster and has a stronger arm. They are both hitting well this season so far – so where in the comparison does Meadows come out on top? I think we assume Meadows is the better prospect, because he was drafted so high – while Ramirez was an international signing.

        • Meadows is the far superior prospect because he currently has and is projected to have better hit, raw, and game power tools while still having average or better speed and much better plate discipline. Tim is also far higher than most on Ramirez’s defensive capabilities as no other outlet call his arm better than average.

          Ramirez is certainly a fine prospect in his own right, but the two simply are not in the same class and it has nothing to do with draft position.

          • I’m puzzled by the low grades on his arm. It doesn’t match up with the throws I’ve seen, and doesn’t match up with the respect that opponents are giving him. No one is running on him this year in the games I’ve seen, even in borderline situations. If he really had an average or worse arm, they’d be running on those close calls.

            • I didn’t know he had a plus arm. I’ve read it about Garcia a hundred times but never Ramirez. He has more tools than I was aware of. If he can stay healthy he could be a good trade chip.

    • well anything is possible. At this point, Ramirez is a better baseball player, but meadows has a lot more to grow

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 7, 2015 10:31 am

    I think we will soon need to see both Bell and Garcia moved up to Indy – Morris could be cut and either Decker or Lombardozzi could go to Pittsburgh and replace the useless Hart.

  • Jmo..but “Tons” of upside is a bit hyperbolic, doncha think?

    • Guy who hits for average, has great plate patience, power potential, speed, range in the outfield to play center, and a plus arm. If that’s not a package for tons of upside, I don’t know what is.

      • Once he gets in your top 5 or does it at AAA, I will believe.

        I guess Tabata has soured me on him……he had the same supposed tools and they look very similar.

        Tabby had some quick hands. Hurdle once said that he could get a swing off in a phone booth.

        • Jose Tabata has zero impact on my view of Harold Ramirez. If Ramirez played in a different organization, no one would even think to make that comparison.

          The only way they look similar is in their listed height and weight, and the fact that they’re both international guys. That’s the end of it. And if you’re only going off that, you could pick other players to get more favorable comps. But you’d be ignoring the most important stuff, which is their set of tools on the field.

          • Tim…I hope you’re right. but Tabata, at this stage would not be a bad comp. Everything Harold supposedly does well, Jose T did well. Speed, defense, hitting, etc. plus Jose was a Top 100 prospect. I don’t think Tabby ever had a strong arm, tho.

            I trust your report, but it sounds like the same one Tabby had years ago (other than the arm). And unfair as that may be, it just tempers my enthusiasm for HR at this point.

            And, I was excited as heck about Tabby ( as was the brass..hence the contract) when I saw him at Altoona and Indy.

            • The reports on Tabata aren’t like the reports on Ramirez.

              Looking back at BA’s pre-2007 report, Tabata was considered an average runner with a solid average arm. There was concern that he wouldn’t give a consistent effort, and that his body would thicken, cause him to lose some athleticism, and end up being one dimensional. And a lot of rankings were banking on the possibility that he could develop power in the future.

              Ramirez has been better than an average runner, and he has a better arm than Tabata’s grade. There aren’t concerns about his effort. He’s got a thick frame, but he’s very athletic. Meanwhile, Tabata grew to where Ramirez is currently at, and he became that one dimensional player.

              Ramirez is a guy who could stick in center and provide solid defense. He can provide speed on the bases. Those weren’t the projections for Tabata. And Tabata could hit, but there were concerns that could go away. Those same concerns (consistent effort, body will change) don’t exist for Ramirez.

              • Tim, I think you had HR as one of the likely trade candidates… Given your eys on him and success, do you think the Pirates have him on a “do not move” type list now?

                • No. The reason he was on that list is still the same — their OF is set for the long-term in the majors, and they have a lot of OF prospects in the minors.

                  • Would it serve the Pirates well to let Ramirez establish himself a little more in the upper levels before possibly trading him? I understand the buy low sell high of trading (like Snider). Do they do that with prospects too?

              • Thick lower half with a documented history of leg injuries and literally was just held out of action for over a month because of conditioning issues.

                Absolutely no one should be surprised if Harold Ramirez loses speed.

                • He was held out of action for the first month of the season with a skin infection in his hand. I updated that report a few weeks ago, before he returned.

                  The conditioning problems were short-term in Spring Training. He came back at the end of camp, but had the skin issue. He also hasn’t been showing any signs of poor conditioning since returning. I’m not even sure if he was out because of conditioning issues in the first place, or if it was just something to give some confidentiality for the skin infection.

              • Hmm. I should’ve known this would happen. Tim is not big on player comps because if I remember correctly he feels it limits the players. I always think back to the Meadows comp to Bruce and the follow up of “So Meadows can’t hit lefties?”
                I made an initial comment and wasn’t able to follow up all weekend. The reason I compared the two was (fair or not) their build, that they both seem to be pure hitters without tons of power, I thought they had similar arms but I appeared to have short changed Ramirez’s, with decent speed but not Marte or Cutch speed. I was also under the impression that Ramirez would have to move to a corner eventually but it doesn’t appear to be the case.
                My only question is why isn’t he higher on the prospect list? I’m a big Ramirez supporter and that was before I was aware of the range in CF and arm mentioned above. Is it because of the injuries?

                • He’s not higher because ultimately there’s still very high risk involved in him hitting his upside.

                  Here’s the 2007 Baseball Prospectus report for Jose Tabata:

                  “Plus hitting skills and a mature approach well beyond his years. With outstanding bat speed and excellent hand/eye coordination, Tabata projects through the roof offensively based on what he’s already been able to do at such a young age. He’s a tick-above-average runner and a solid outfielder with a good arm. While nobody questions Tabata’s ability to hit for average down the road, his power projection is a matter of some debate. Some feel that his pure hitting skills are enough to project for plus power, with others are concerned that his smallish frame will limit him to no more than 15-20 home runs annually.”

                  And here’s the 2010 report:

                  “Tabata has one of the quickest bats in the minors, as the barrel rockets into the strike zone and smacks balls from line to line, while Tabata still teases with the occasional ability to really drive pitches into the gaps. He’s not as aggressive as he once was, as he’s learned how to wait for better pitches. He’s a solid outfielder who works in center field in a pinch, and his arm is a true plus tool. After hitting just five home runs in 362 at-bats last year, fewer and fewer scouts are projecting that Tabata will ever hit for power. Questions about his age have dogged him throughout his career, and even the Pirates don’t seem to be convinced based on recent comments. If he can’t stay in center, where his average speed limits his range, he’ll need to be a consistent .300-plus hitter to work as a corner outfielder.”

                  The biggest differentiation between Tabata and Ramirez as prospects appears to be makeup, although it can’t be seen as a great thing for Ramirez to already be having conditioning issues.

                  • The Tabata comparison was meant as a compliment in case that got lost in the shuffle and the reports above from BP sort of reaffirm that. There was obviously a reason the Pirates were able to get him from the Yankees. They soured on him if only slightly. I was under the impression it was because of his mental make up so to speak.

                    • Yeah, I think it’s often very easy for perspective to be lost on historic prospect comps compared to current ones. Almost impossible for an opinion of Tabata as a prospect *not* to be skewed by what we now know for fact in hind sight.

                      Ramirez-Tabata isn’t a perfect comp by any means, but there are absolutely strong similarities depending on what stage of Tabata as a prospect you use to judge.

            • When Tabata was in Altoona I never saw all this speed he supposedly had.

  • Can’t wait till Luis Heredia joins a staff in Pittsburgh that includes Cole, Tiallon, and Glasnow. I wonder since the Chubs called up some of their “mother lode” of talent from their minors will the Pirates replace them with as the best farm system????

    • Keep dreaming…LH will be lucky to make it to AAA in our org. Sitting 90-93 with little command? Not a good sign.

    • Are you a relative of Heredia’s ?

      • There is no Latin American blood in my veins Einstein, I will admit to 50% Italian and 50% Irish. Did you ever wonder why the Pirates advanced LH to high A ??? Please no mention of bonus money. Look how much money the Pirates wasted on Lock, Tabata, Morton, and Pedro Alvarez. Heredia’s challenge will be AA not Bradenton.

  • Ramirez reminds me some of Tabata although I think Tabata was regarded as a better prospect correct?

    • John Dreker
      June 6, 2015 1:14 pm

      Yes, Tabata was a top 100 prospect and honestly, his career hasn’t been that bad. Many top 100 prospects don’t even make the Majors, but he’s in his sixth year already. He’s disappointing to most fans because he never reached his upside, but probably average or better for a top 100 prospect

      • I think that perspective would depend on whether the player made a 1 year cameo on the top 100 list or was there for a few years in a row as he came up through the minors. I believe tabata was only there 1 year, but i could be mistaken.

        • Y…he was on for one year according to my BA spreadsheet.

          • So I think that changes things quite a bit in my opinion. Being on a top 100 list one season really isn’t all that impressive or meaningful. I’m sure we’d find players who make that list 2 or more years tend to be much succesful in their careers. Ramirez is only similar in terms of their injury issues and they hit righty, no other similarities truthfully

    • I’m with Deacs on the Tabata comp. I think HR is a 4th OFer on a good team and a starter on a poor team.

      John…re:Tabby…if not for his contract, I wonder if some second division team might’ve taken a chance on him?

      • lee- if you’ve seen Ramirez play, you’d see him as a sure fire starter, very similar in his play to Harrison actually in terms of energy, hustle, and in game knowledge and instincts

    • Tabata was just younger as he came through- same issues with injuries, same gap power- Tabata was faster at Ramirez’s age, but even scouts knew that speed would be gone quickly ( and it was) but they were hoping it would be replaced by extra power as he matured (and it wasn’t). Ramirez hits to all fields better than Tabata ever did, has a better arm and plays better defense than Tabata ever did, and is about twice the skill at baserunning than Tabata even has now in the major leagues. Ramirez’s intangibles and knowlege of the game, hustle, etc….is leagues ahead of any potential that Tabata ever had, way higher floor

      • Just remember that Tabata was once a Top 100 prospect. Hopefully Harold R will become one.

        Until then……

        But, I hope you and Tim are correct in your assessment and he becomes a top prospect with ‘tons’ of upside.