“He’s really good.”
J.R. Murphy’s analysis of Jose Ramirez was, well…really simple. But it sure seemed to capture the essence of the top prospect’s Double-A debut on Friday night. Pitching in relief of Nik Turley, who turned in a so-so outing over five innings, Ramirez allowed just one walk and two hits over four innings of work, striking out six Portland Sea Dogs batters along the way. He picked up his first save in 89 career MiLB appearances, closing out Trenton’s 6-3 win.
“I feel 100 percent,” said Ramirez (through translator/actual baseball coach Luis Dorante), who had been on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue for the first three weeks of the season.
What he did not feel, however, was warm, likely pitching in the coldest conditions of his career. While the gametime temperature was listed at 65 degrees, it had gone all the way down to just 47 degrees by the time the contest had ended.
“I just need to keep pitching and see how it feels,” he said. “Right now, it feels very cold. I’m not used to it, but I need to keep pitching and see what adjustments I have to make.”
The real adjustment for Ramirez tonight, however, was coming out of the bullpen. He’s a starter. He’s going to be a starter. The only determination left to be made is whose spot he’ll be taking. According to pitching coach Tommy Phelps, that’s something he doesn’t want his pitchers worrying about, and went on to say that he’s unsure if there would be a six-man rotation (which is very unlikely).
“You can’t control that,” Phelps said. “As a pitcher, as you can control is really your next pitch. After that, you can’t even control what they’re going to do with it. So, if they keep that mindset, they’ll have success.”
Ask Murphy, and there will be plenty more success along the way once he gets acclimated to the brisk Trenton spring.
“He got a lot of swings and misses,” Murphy said. “(96 MPH) will get a lot of swings and misses. His changeup is always his go-to in any count to righties or lefties, and it’s a swing and miss pitch. The release point wasn’t perfect, it was a little bit too far down. As a hitter, it’s usually swing and miss because they see it as a strike and then it goes below the zone and then they swing and miss, and it just wasn’t starting in the zone. He didn’t get as many swings and misses tonight because it was too low, but he threw a few good sliders and a few that backed up a little bit, but he’s got a lot better stuff than I saw tonight. But he was still very successful. I think he’s going to do just fine.”
— Turley seems so close to being able to put it all together. The stuff is there, but the consistency isn’t, and while he improved to 2-1 tonight with his five inning outing, his 5.79 ERA isn’t too far off of being a solid indication of how things have gone for him so far this year.
“I think he’s getting better with each outing,” said manager Tony Franklin.
I believe he has to pitch down in the strike zone a little bit more and a little bit better, but once Nik finds his rhythm, he gets on a pretty good roll. All the ingredients are there; good arm, good curveball, good change of speeds. This is what this level is all about, trying to refine your ability and your talent, and I think he’s gotten better with each start.”
— Rob Segedin was a late scratch from the starting lineup with what Franklin described as “lower body stiffness.” He was, of course, subsequently chirped by me for going into “hockey playoffs” mode. But, on a serious note, it doesn’t seem like a serious issue for Trenton’s hot corner specialist.
Jeremy Bleich was placed on the DL with “left knee soreness,” and that is a legitimate injury, but also seems minor.
— I owe you Danny Burawa and Reegie Corona features. Do not let me forget this.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com