Name: Neil Ramirez
Born: May 25th, 1989
2012 Stats: 2 G, 2 GS, (0-1), 9 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 10 K, 5 R/5 ER, 5.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP (Triple-A Round Rock)
Career Stats: 357 2/3 IP, 318 H, 154 BB, 379 K, 3.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 2.46 K/BB
Game Scouted: Saturday April 7th, 2012, Round Rock @ Iowa
Analysis: Ramirez is a tall righty with a very mechanical delivery. It helps him stay consistent, but it is not smooth. It is almost as if you can see him thinking through the movements as he goes through the delivery. He has three pitches, a fastball that sits in the lower 90s, a curveball that sits in the mid-70s, and a change-up that sits in the low 80s. He lived by his fastball all night, especially the first time through the order. By my count he threw 66 pitches, over the course of 4 innings, 8 were curves and 10-11 were change-ups. He struck 6 batters out on the evening, 5 of them swinging. 4 of the 6 were on a fastball where he challenged the hitters, and the other 2 struck out swinging at change-ups. He continually pounded left handed hitters in on the hands with fastballs. Right handed hitters he wasn’t as comfortable going in on. His control was lacking all night. The curve showed promising 12-6 movement, but the control was nowhere to be found. 2 of the 8 curves were called strikes, and not a single one of the 8 was swung at by the I-Cubs. Even more alarming was that 3 of the 8 were balls because they were above the zone, and one of the two called strikes was very borderline at the top of the zone. Ramirez will get crushed on this pitch if he can’t figure out how to bury it in the zone. His change-up had some good arm side fade, and generated some funny swings all night. Having no previous knowledge of Ramirez, you would swear the change-up was the better of the two. The change-up was better than the curve on this night. The change-up was also Ramirez’s most consistently controlled pitch. On one of the strikeouts he left over the middle of the plate to a lefty who luckily was looking fastball in on the count, otherwise it probably would have ended up in the stands beyond right field. I liked that Ramirez wasn’t afraid to go inside on lefties; he backed them off the plate, broke bats, and attacked them all night. Fastball control wasn’t there though, consistently missing spots, some by a great margin. He missed up, he missed over the plate, he missed in the dirt, nothing was consistent. The process of the delivery needs to be improved in my opinion to gain him more consistency. I may be a little unfair to Neil, he only walked one hitter on the night, but from where the catcher would set the location, to where the pitch would go was a guessing game the majority of the night and he caught a lot of the plate sometimes. Ramirez had good mound presence and stayed poised with runners on, and after a runner scored.
Future: Ramirez looks like a mid to back end of the rotation guy to me. He needs work on smoothing out his delivery and improving control. He can’t afford to miss over the plate and hang as many curves as he did that night. Fastball is good, little movement but he uses it effectively. It is an average pitch right now, but with better control/command can move to above average. Change-up is a nice pitch to work off his fastball and fools hitters on both sides of the plate. It’s a potential plus pitch if he can avoid leaving it out over the plate as much. Curve has excellent movement, only once did it flatten out a bit. Ramirez had no idea where the curve was going though, unless he wanted to challenge hitters to crush hanging curves. If control would be present with it though, it is a plus pitch as well. Essentially Ramirez’s career will ride on his control/command; if he finds it he will be a #3/4 starter and will eat a lot of innings with his big frame. If he can’t gain control then a spot as a 7th or 8th inning reliever awaits him, where he can ramp up his fastball and use the off-speed offerings as strikeout pitches.
Present Overall: 45
Future Overall: 50-55