Top Prospect #6: RHP Elizardo Ramirez

Top Prospect #6: RHP  Elizardo Ramirez

Elizardo Ramirez has found a way to climb up the ranks of Phillies prospects even though he doesn't have the best "stuff" in the world. What Ramirez has done is to find a way to keep hitters off balance and he has learned to let his fielders do their job, rather than trying to strike out every hitter that he faces. The result is that he gives up a pretty good amount of hits, but he seems to always find a way to win games and get the most out of what he does have going for him.

Elizardo Ramirez can usually hit 90 miles per hour on the speed gun, as long as he has the wind behind him. In other words, he's not going to be confused with Randy Johnson any time soon. To make matters worse, Ramirez also doesn't possess a lot of movement on his pitches, so hitters can generally get a piece of the ball. In fact, last season, hitters swung at a .290 clip against Ramirez, but he still went 13-9 at Clearwater.

Since there isn't much to be envious about with Ramirez' fastball, he has learned to get the most out of his change-up and curve. While his arm motion shows absolutely no change, his change and curve come up to the plate at about 12-15 miles per hour slower than his fastball. For most hitters, after seeing a 78 mile per hour curve, even a pretty straight 90 mile per hour fastball can be a bit of a challenge. The other factor that makes Ramirez tough is his location. You have to be ready to swing, because he's not going to walk you.

It may sound like Ramirez isn't all that much of a prospect and you might wonder how he comes in at number six on our list of the Phillies Top 50 Prospects. Keep in mind that he's pitching at low levels, but in four minor league seasons, Ramirez has gone 35-13, 2.36. No matter what level you're pitching at, those are pretty good numbers. It should be pointed out too, that while Ramirez allowed a .290 average to opposing hitters last season, there are a couple other factors to remember. First, he was jumping a level, skipping Low-A Lakewood and moving right from the Gulf Coast League to the Florida State League. Also, Ramirez pitched a career high 157 innings and was stretched to pitch more innings than he was used to. The bottom line is that even if Ramirez doesn't dazzle hitters, he finds a way to get them out and can rely on his control and mixing his pitches to be successful.

This season will start the real test for Elizardo Ramirez. Many players who look good at lower levels start to learn some real lessons when they hit the AA level. Ramirez is ticketed for AA Reading in 2004 and it will be interesting to see how he handles the step. Since he just turned 21, the Phillies are hopeful that through some conditioning, Ramirez may be able to add a little muscle and improve on his stamina. Their work with him on conditioning is designed to produce even just a couple more miles per hour on his fastball. They're also working with him on developing some movement on his fastball, but are afraid to tinker too much with his delivery because they don't want to ruin what is a smooth, fluid motion.

Elizardo Ramirez Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2000 Dominican Phillies

5

2

1.88

1

11

9

57.1

7.4

0.8

10.5

2001 Dominican Phillies

10

1

1.26

0

14

14

93.0

6.9

0.9

7.8

2002 Gulf Coast (Rookie)

7

1

1.10

0

11

11

73.1

5.4

0.2

9.0

2003 Clearwater (High A)

13

9

3.78

0

27

25

157.1

10.3

1.9

5.8

Career Minor League Stats

35

13

2.36

1

63

59

381.0

8.1

1.1

7.6

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