What a difference a year makes in the life of New York Yankees prospect RHP Jose Ramirez. Ramirez improved so much in 2012 that he was added to the 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The 23 year old Dominican was signed in 2007 and was considered to have the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the Yankees organization.
After blazing through Single-A ball at the tender age of 19 in 2009 with stats like a 1.44 ERA with 108 strikeouts in just 103 innings. In 2010 with the Charleston RiverDogs Jose was bitten by the injury bug and only appeared in 11 games.
His comeback in 2011 wasn't pretty and the Yankees scouts were starting to doubt whether the highly touted right hander could cut it as a starter. Between Charleston and the Tampa Ramirez posted a 5-12 record and a ballooned 5.66 ERA with opponents hitting a respectable .292.
2012 was the transition year when everything fell into place putting up a 2.17 ERA in the second half of the season, cutting down his walk rate and inducing many ground ball outs. Jose finished the season with a 7-6 record 3.19 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 98.2 innings.
Ramirez sports three elite pitches and a fourth above average one which includes a consistent 93-98 mph fastball, an above average slider with late movement and a breaking ball with true downward trajectory. A fourth pitch the power changeup has shown significant improvement and now rivals Manny Banuelos as one of the best in the organization. Nothing rattles this kid his and his composure is just what makes him stand out from many Minor Leaguers.
Jose is projected as a front end starter by 2015 which would make him 25, but hopefully with his continued development Jose can fast track through Double and Triple-A and make an impact with the parent club sooner than later.
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