Ramirez wasn’t a highly touted international prospect, signing with the Astros for a meager $50K bonus in 2017. After a strong stateside debut in 2018, the 19-year-old has continued to pitch well this season with Short-Season Tri-City. Across 36.1 innings, the right-hander has a 3.72 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 49:38. I saw the youngster pitch on August 9th against Hudson Valley.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds., Ramirez does not possess the frame of a prototypical starting pitcher. He has a squatty build and thick lower half without much room for projectability. Ramirez has a full-circle arm action and high ¾ slot. His fastball sat between 92-to-94 mph with occasional cut. The control of his heater is extremely spotty due to an inconsistent release point, which might be the result of his drop-and-drive delivery. Surprisingly, Ramirez shows excellent feel and control of his curveball, which ranges between 79-82 mph. The offering flashed plus with good shape and hammer 11-to-5 bite. He frequently froze opposing hitters with the pitch, but rarely buried it in the dirt for swings and misses. Ramirez also has a changeup which sat around 85 mph and frequently missed up in the zone. While it is a distant third offering, he showed a willingness to throw it regularly (perhaps a mandate from the coaching staff).
Between his lack of size, spotty fastball command and under-developed third pitch, I don’t believe Ramirez is a long-term option in the rotation. However, the combination of above-average fastball velo and devastating hook should allow him to carve out a role in the ‘pen, FV 40.