Elvin Ramirez Scouting Report

Elvin Ramirez's star is rising

In his first stint with a long-season club, Elvin Ramirez took big strides both in the quality of his pitching and his understanding of the game. He achieved the progress coaches hoped for and should be even stronger next season.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Elvin Ramirez
DOB: October 10, 1987
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 208
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (2004) – Dominican Republic

With each passing season, those monitoring 21-year-old Elvin Ramirez continue to watch for signs of measurable progress from the hard-throwing right-hander. The signs were there throughout the 2007 season despite the 45 2/3 shaky innings he compiled during 12 starts with Kingsport. But it was during the following Instructional League season and following Spring Training when the speed of Ramirez's development really piqued the attention of many across the organization.

Ramirez's arm strength helped establish his value during his time in the Dominican Summer League in 2005 and 2006, and onto Kingsport in 2007, but this past season excitement reached another level when he impressively developed his slider and changeup and attained good, overall consistency.

Despite signing four years ago, Ramirez went to Savannah with less than 100 innings under his belt so the speed in which he filled out his game satisfied pitching coordinator Rick Waits, who believes in the promise of his young hurler.

"He's a kid that did not pitch many innings even as an amateur down in the Dominican before he got to the professional level. He's coming along just perfect and I really love this kid," said Waits.

"This year he went to Savannah and was one of the better pitchers in that league as far as consistency," he added. "He has a very good sinker and a very good slider and both are big league quality, he added the changeup which came along great but he just hasn't pitched much and that probably held him back about a year and a half."

Yet, it was not a difficult adjustment period as Ramirez compiled a 3.67 ERA in 81 innings pitched for a Savannah club that had leaks in its defense and was often starved for runs. He gave up one hit per inning and surrendered just one home run on the season, both indicators of his excellent ability to keep the ball down with his hard sinker.

His finest month came in May when he surrendered just nine earned runs in 34 1/3 innings and kept the opposition to a .225 batting average before tailing off just slightly as his innings increased beyond his 2007 high-water mark.

He closed the year with a 1-4 record and 5.17 ERA over his last seven starts, but an invitation to the formidable Venezuelan Winter League helped mend a shaky end to a fine year. It was an opportunity Waits believed will further shape his younger pitcher and affirm Ramirez's stable, positive attitude and belief in his own ability.

"Here's a kid from A-ball that [had] a chance to pitch with the top level Venezuelan Winter League team this winter and that alone, being around other big league pitchers and Triple-A pitchers will help his development even more," said Waits.

"The main thing this year with him was an air of confidence. He really knows that he can be a good pitcher and he's really taking it to the next step. He's coming along just perfect and I really love this kid. I look at him and I really believe [in] him," he added.

As do many more across the organization who will continue to push Ramirez. With mechanical flaws at a minimum, a big arm, and trust in his ability, the Mets have a pitcher who has been in their system for already extended period, but could move quicker with each new season.





































Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball: Ramirez employs a 93-94 MPH sinker with very sharp break and terrific running action, but the most important element to his fastball is that he no longer uses max effort to generate his velocity. His added size and strength this year, and a smoother motion, gives him the ability to maintain his velocity and action later into games. Year over year, it went from a fairly inconsistent pitch to one of the best sinkers in the entire organization.

Other Pitches: Ramirez pairs his fastball with a devastating slider that went from a marginal pitch in 2007 to a near-dominant out pitch for him this past season. He throws it in the low to mid-80s with hard break down and away from right-handers. The consistency he built with the pitch was perhaps his biggest victory of the year as he gives him an effective weapon on the outer-half to right-handers and down through the strike zone that can bait lefties. Though his slider has big league break, he still needs to work on his control with it to help minimize his walks. He tops that off with a changeup that came a long way this past season, but he still needs to better grasp the tempo and speed of the pitch which will give it more deceptive action. When he has neither, it stays up in the zone and becomes a hittable pitch.

Pitching: Ramirez is straight-forward with his approach. He goes right after hitters and pitches to contact, relying most on his hard sinker to achieve a high groundball rate but his slider gives him a valuable strikeout pitch as well. He constantly works down in the zone and forces hitters to beat his velocity and lift his pitches. He is still a bit raw on the edges, but each factor of his success further fuels his confidence. He will not back down to hitters, but needs to improve his strike zone consistency to limit walks and shorten at-bats.

Projection: Prior to 2008, there were questions as to what role Ramirez would ultimately fill as a starter or a reliever, but the growth he achieved this past season alleviated hesitation about his projection. Though he needs to maintain his current learning curve to cement his future in the Mets rotation, his top two pitches have made believers that Ramirez has the stuff to be a formidable arm to a reliable arm in the middle of the rotation.

ETA: Late 2010. The speed of his development is the reason for moving up his projection roughly two years following last year's rankings. He will open 2009 in the St. Lucie rotation with a possible promotion to Binghamton later in the year, and if he continues his current trending, he will likely crack the big league rotation at the start of the 2011 season. This is a fairly conservative projection, but we do hold out for the possibility of seeing Ramirez in a relief role sometime in late 2010.

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