Outfielder Harold Ramírez is set to make his major league debut with the Marlins in New York this weekend, according to Craig Mish of the Five Reasons Sports Network. I can barely contain my excitement.
The Marlins agreed to terms with the 24-year-old in late November on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Ramírez received a modest $25,000 bonus, admitting that he “left money on the table” (via Walter Villa, Baseball America). “I believe the Marlins are giving me the biggest opportunity.”
He has been proven correct.
The 5-foot-10 Colombian got his first taste of Triple-A competition this season, but spent just 31 games there before forcing a promotion. Ramírez posted a .999 OPS in 120 plate appearances while managing an impressive 15.8% strikeout rate (same neighborhood as his overall career mark).
His spray chart with New Orleans (.355/.408/.591). Every inch of fair territory is his domain, plus there's some over-the-fence power. pic.twitter.com/BrIwnRwJIv— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) May 11, 2019
This success is not too surprising. Ramírez cracked Baseball America’s Top 100 MLB prospects list entering the 2016 campaign. A knee injury suffered in the Blue Jays organization later that summer pushed his career off course, affecting his speed out of the batter’s box—that is a critical factor for a right-handed contact hitter with a high ground ball rate.
However, Ramírez re-established himself last year, following up a great Double-A season with true dominance of the Venezuelan Winter League (.381/.459/.556, 10.8 K% in 185 PA). He’s remarkably similar regardless of the pitcher’s handedness and does not need to be platooned.
Fish Stripes is updating our Marlins top prospects list next month—expanding it from 25 players to 30—and I fully anticipate him being included.
Marlins outfielders have been beyond atrocious in 2019. They cannot hit—.197/.267/.287, MLB-worst 56 wRC+, MLB-worst -1.7 fWAR—and outside of a few glorious assists, the defensive standard isn’t very high, either. Ramírez is experienced at all three outfield positions, though poor arm strength and instincts figure to see him utilized most often in left field.
Let’s not distort expectations here: Ramírez is just a role player. You can count on him to get on base; every other aspect of his game is questionable at the major league level. Still, it is encouraging to see a smart, under-the-radar acquisition from this front office, inching the rebuilding club in the right direction.
To clear space for Ramírez on the 40-man roster, the Marlins will likely designate a player for assignment. Automatic out Isaac Galloway is a prime candidate, partly because he’s a safe bet to make it through waivers and remain in the organization. Swing-and-miss slugger Peter O’Brien could be another casualty.