All this sun made me want to focus on sunny things happening for the Braves, and since it’s so unusual to have sun here in March, the topic had to be somewhat unusual. Therefore, today our subject is Wilkin Ramirez.
I know at least one of you said “Who?”. Before the start of camp, I would have probably said the same thing. But Ramirez has put together a spring that has people noticing. In fact, there’s a lot of people ready to annoit him the Braves fourth outfielder. Before we get too carried away, I decided to go to a source that does know something about him. You see, Ramirez spent his whole career in the Tigers organization before the Braves acquired him in a minor league trade last summer. John Parent, the lead writer for our sister FanSided Network site for the Tigers, the Motor City Bengals , had this to say about Ramirez:
Ramirez was a highly thought of prospect in the Tigers system for several years. Originally a third baseman, Ramirez struggled defensively and was shifted to the outfield. He didn’t improve much with the glove out there, however. Physically, the guy is a tool box, but has a lot of trouble with pitch recognition and that has lead to low walk totals and high strikeout rates in the minor leagues. He’s still fairly young and has great speed to go along with better than average power, but he won’t help you defensively and doesn’t make enough contact to stick as a regular player in a big league lineup. He will dazzle you in flashes, but hasn’t ever been able to put it all together consistently. Eventually, the Tigers gave up on him and removed him from the 40-man, leading to his arrival in the Atlanta organization. If he ever figures out how to develop more patience at the plate, he could turn a corner, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope. The good news is that Larry Parrish worked with Ramirez extensively in the past when both were at AAA Toledo, so perhaps that relationship will prove fruitful once again.
So much of this rings true this spring. Almost everyone who sees him is impressed with his talent (Chipper even said he has as much pop in his bat as anyone on the team), yet they are leary of his reputation for being so streaky. They love his speed, and this team is in dire need of speed. They love his versatility, as it’s felt he can play all three outfield positions with skill. And he’s lit it up this spring, hitting .421 (8-for-19) with five RBIs in 11 games.
What do I think? I’d love to think this is for real, that Ramirez has learned plate discipline and learned how to either hit or lay off the breaking stuff, which has been his biggest problem up until now. But I’m not yet convinced this is true based on 19 at bats from a noted streaky hitter. I say either let him play virtually every day the rest of the spring and see what happens, or let him go back to Gwinnett and prove it over a bigger sample size. Hopefully Matt Young will start to show something, or else I think the team will break camp with only McLouth having any speed. But enough of me; what do you all think?