Pittsburgh Pirates Future Friday: Harold Ramirez

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

This season the site will be posting articles every Friday that will be titled ‘Future Friday.’  These articles will be about a specific Pittsburgh Pirates minor league prospects who is having a successful season.

These articles will feature Pittsburgh Pirates prospects who range anywhere from top prospects to lower level players who are working their way up the prospect ranks. The articles will outline a bio about them, what they have done in their careers, how they are doing this year, and give some insight on what their future could potentially hold.

For this installment of the “Future Friday” series, outfielder Harold “Harry” Ramirez will be the prospect of focus. Harold Ramirez is a talented outfielder who is finally being noticed on the prospect scene.  Many of the more in-depth readers know about Harry.  He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 out of Colombia for 1.05 million dollar bonus. The Pirates do not handout 7 figure bonuses often, therefore the Bucs knew the potential talent he possessed.  In fact, this is the second biggest bonus ever given out by the Pirates to an international prospect (behind Luis Heredia).

He has not let them down since signing his bonus.  From 2014 into 2015 he carried a hitting streak past 25 games.  Last year he played 80 games at High-A.  In those games he batted a stellar .337 with a line of .399/.458/.857. He also swiped 22 bags. This caught the attention of ESPN’s prospect insider Keith Law, who ranked him as the #50 prospect in baseball.

Harold Ramirez is an intriguing outfield prospect who is now ranked as the Pirate’s number 5 prospect.  He should bring good speed and pop to the top of any lineup, while bringing good defensive speed and solid defense in the outfield.  Ramirez tools and build make him a future center field candidate, however he has played all over the outfield in the minors so far in his career .  He is small and compact at 5’11” and 215 pounds.  He should not physically fill out anymore which means he will keep his foot speed and be able to cover center field.  His arm is considered his weakest tool, which may project him to be more of a left-fielder.  The biggest issue with Harry is that he has trouble staying on the field.  In 2014 he only played in 49 games due to a hamstring issue.  He followed this up by only playing in 80 games in 2015.

This year expectations were high for Ramirez.  As mentioned above Keith Law ranked him in the top 50 last season, Ramirez is starting to gain some national attention.  Moving up to Double-A this year would give Ramirez a chance to really solidify himself as a recognized”top” prospect.  He started off this year hot at spring training.  He received 19 at-bats for the Pirates this spring and had 11 hits.

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However, he was not able to carry his hot spring into the start of the season. Through the first 2 weeks of the season he was batting .163 with a .456 OPS.  Not a good start at all.  The belief was that after having such a stellar spring, Ramirez was pressing to continue to put up great numbers at AA, therefore over compensating.  He has settled in over the last month or so and his numbers are starting to recover.  On the year Harry Ram is now batting .268 with a .685 OPS.  His numbers still are not stellar, but considering how he started they are definitely in a decent place.  Not to mention those numbers have steadily been climbing over the last few weeks obviously, if he continues to hit the way he is capable he will be back around .300 in no time.

Harold Ramirez has no clear path to the majors.  He has done nothing but produce in his minor league career, and he looks to be a good future player.  Unfortunately for him he is already stuck behind McCutchen, Marte, and Polanco not to mention top prospect Austin Meadows as well. With the potential of Ramirez reaching Triple-A by mid-season and no clear spot in the majors going forward the Pirates could look to use him as a trade chip at some point.  He would be a key piece in a deal.  If they do decide to hang on to him the Pirates could get very creative with their outfield going forward.  Harry Ram struggled out of the gate this year, but he is steadily getting his numbers back to where they should be.  He is ranked at #5 in the Pittsburgh Pirates system for a reason.  He could be a really good future player, just a matter of if it will be in Pittsburgh or else where.

All Stats Courtesy of Baseball Reference