We are officially on a run of pitchers as we reach the halfway point in our community top prospect voting. The top portion of the top ten here in the Red Sox system was dominated by position players, but the bottom half has been all about the arms. After Noah Song came in at six, Tanner Houck at eight, and Connor Seabold at nine, we had a three-man race — all pitchers — for the tenth spot. In the end, it was Aldo Ramirez rounding out the top half of our top 20 with 36 percent of the vote.
It’s too early to call Ramirez a true success story, of course, but he’s already exceeded his expectations as an international acquisition out of Mexico. The righty came into the system in the spring of 2018, and at the time he was actually already a professional pitcher. Ramirez was pitching in the Mexican League for Aguascalientes and Boston purchased the rights to the young righty for $550,000. He entered the system just before his 17th birthday.
Having already pitched a bit before he signed, he didn’t get a chance to be pushed too hard in that first summer in the organization when he headed to the Dominican Summer League. Ramirez made only five starts at the level, but it was enough to open the eyes of scouts and those who follow the system. Over the course of 23 innings he had pitched to a 0.39 ERA with 17 strikeouts and only three walks.
The performance was enough for the organization to decide he could skip the complex all together and head to Lowell for the 2019 season. There, he was a bit overshadowed in a rotation that featured a pair of recent draftees in Noah Song and Chris Murphy, both of whom were pitching very well. But Ramirez flew a bit under the radar despite impressing in his own right, particularly when you consider he was only 18 years old pitching in the States for the first time. He made 13 starts (plus one relief appearance) in Lowell spanning 61 2⁄3 innings, pitching to a 3.94 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 16 walks.
This wasn’t quite enough for him to become a true riser in the Red Sox system at that point, though the command and general performance did put him on the radar for many heading into 2020, which figured to be his first full season in the organization. Instead, COVID hit and he didn’t get to pitch until Instructs. It was there that the helium he’s currently experiencing really started to hit, though. By all accounts, Ramirez was great, with Sox Prospects even calling him the consensus best pitcher in Fort Myers. With his fastball a couple ticks up and an improved changeup, people in the organization are as confident as ever that they have a legitimate major-league starter on their hands with Ramirez.
He certainly has the kind of arsenal that should be able to keep him in a rotation long-term. Ramirez won’t blow anyone away with his fastball, but he’s also not a soft tosser, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s with the ability to get it up at times when he needs it. The changeup is the best offering right now, with the ability for the bottom to drop out of it at the last second. Some project the pitch to be plus down the road. He’ll also throw a curveball, which is an average-ish pitch at best but his feel for it allows it to play a bit above its grade. And with all of these pitches, really, Ramirez shows tremendous feel and a terrific ability to command his offerings.
Because of this command, feel, and general makeup the expectation is that they’ll be able to push Ramirez a bit harder than they may with other pitchers of a similar age and experience level. He’ll likely start the coming season in Salem, but I would not be surprised to see him be one of the earliest promotions in the system if he handles himself well over the first month or two at that level. While he doesn’t have a super high ceiling right now — it’s probably something like a mid-rotation starter — he has the kind of command that should put him at levels higher than his peers, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him continue moving up this list.
Here is our list so far:
- Triston Casas
- Jeter Downs
- Bryan Mata
- Jarren Duran
- Gilberto Jimenez
- Noah Song
- Bobby Dalbec
- Tanner Houck
- Connor Seabold
- Aldo Ramirez
Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number ten prospect. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. We encourage discussion, of course, but please don’t comment under specific players’ names. Instead, scroll to the bottom to start a new comment thread in order to keep the players at the top of the comment section. Until next time...