Jose Ramirez, 21, is a right handed pitcher listed at 6-1 and 155-pounds. He was born in Yaguate, Dominican Republic. When the Yankees signed him on June 10, 2007 he wasn’t considered a big prospect and didn’t sign for a large bonus.
When Ramirez started out with the Yankees he was just a skinny kid who showed a solid arm without a lot of potential. In 2008, when he was still in the Dominican Republic, he put up a 4.15 ERA in 39 innings in the Dominican Summer League.
He came state side in 2009 and that’s when the Yankees straightened out his mechanics which improved his fastball and changeup. He pitched primarily in the Gulf Coast League where in 11 starts he tossed 61 innings with a 1.48 ERA, a 7.8 K/9, and a 2.4 BB/9. He got a taste of High-A Tampa where he pitched in one game for three innings and didn’t allow any runs.
By the end of the season he had a plus fastball and a plus changeup. What he lacked was a strong secondary pitch. In 2010 with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs he made some strides to develop a curveball, but failed to make it a true plus pitch. He stayed all year in Low-A in 2010. Over 22 games and 115 innings he put up a 3.60 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, a 8.2 K/9, and a 3.3 BB/9.
Ramirez is a three pitch pitcher. He throws a fastball that sits anywhere from 92-96 mph. His changeup is a plus pitch and his curveball is still in development.
His fastball has natural downward movement to it and he commands it very well. That makes it a real plus pitch. His changeup may be his best pitch. It comes in from the high 70’s to low 80’s and shows great command with it. It becomes especially dangerous when his fastball is really popping as it gives him two plus pitches.
The curveball is a pretty important pitch for him. He didn’t have it at all in the Dominican, had kind of a slurve in 2009, and started really making strides with it in 2010. His K/9 has risen along with his curveball and he could become one of the top pitching prospects in the organization if he learns to throw it consistently.
Ramirez just turned 21-years-old this month and will likely spend all of 2011 in High-A Tampa. This could be a big year for him too as he’ll need to continue to progress or be in danger of falling down some prospect lists. At his current pace he appears to have a high ceiling. He seems more like a no. 2 than a true front-of-the-rotation starter, but even that is not out of the question if he can truly develop a plus curve.
2011 is a big year for him, but it is by no means a make or break year though. He needs to show progress in his curveball and further refine his mechanics next year. But keep in mind, he just turned 21 this month. It is very likely he will be in the minors for three more full seasons so he doesn’t need to become a major leaguer next season.