Baseball HQ captures the industry consensus for us:
- Tall, lean pitcher who moved to pen in '14 and missed significant time with various ailments. Durability is a question.
- Possesses explosive fastball with electric life and changeup remains plus offering that can miss bats.
- Fails to repeat delivery and has trouble harnessing arm strength.
- Upside still there.
This is neither here nor there, but we had to smile at a tweet that labeled Ramirez as "sits 91-95, touching 98."
Pitch F/X has his fastball averaging 95.7 MPH for 2015, which would have him #15 in the majors alongside Wade Davis, a tick behind Dellin Betances. Sitting 91-95 would mean you averaged 93; I don't know how your velocities average 95.7 while they're usually clocking in at 91, 93, 94. Ramirez has a big arm, no doubts there.
In terms of 95+ flamethrowers whose main offspeed pitch is a changeup ... Kelvin Herrera of the Royals, Brandon Maurer of the, um, Padres and naturally Fernando Rodney. You might or might not count Ryan Madson of the Royals in this group; he throws 93 MPH.
For those still in a Tom Wilhelmsen mood, here's a May 2013 excerpt from Fangraphs:
Jose Ramirez‘s live arm was on display against Kevin Gausman this past Friday. The New York Yankees’ minor-leaguer consistently unleashed 94 mph to 95 mph four-seam fastballs against the Bowie Baysox from his low three-quarter arm slot. The pitch touched 97 mph, but Ramirez’s low release point kept it on the same plane on which it was released. It did, however, feature arm-side run.
Ramirez complemented his four seamer with an 81 mph to 84 mph changeup that featured significant vertical drop and slight fade as it neared the plate. The right-hander commanded the pitch well down in the zone and it was his go-to out pitch when he was ahead in the count. But his arm speed slows down noticeably during his delivering when compared to his fastball.
The Baysox were helpless against Ramirez’s one-two punch. The Dominican lasted five innings, struck out seven batters and walked one.
With two above-average offerings, the 22-year-old Yankee minor-leaguer has a strong foundation to become a major league starting pitcher — but there still are several questions he’ll need to answer before his future role becomes clearer.
If nothing else, maybe they'll become infatuated with Jose Ramirez taking over the Wilhelsen role, freeing him to start? :- ) But, of course, he was moved to the bullpen in the first place because of the little assorment of injuries.
He's had three appearances for the Yankee$ this year, fanning 4 and walking 2 in three innings; for his career he's fanned 13 in the bigs over 11 innings, while giving up more than his share of BB and HR. Here's the MLB video blurb on him in ST, pitching him as a "late-inning bullpen weapon" with a fastball that touches 100 MPH and a changeup that "bottoms out at the plate" with sinking action.