Name: Alex Ramirez
Weight: 170 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, June 2, 2019 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
2022 Stats: 121 G, 498 AB, .281/.346/.436, 140 H, 30 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 44 BB, 122 K, 21/37 SB, .350 BABIP (Low-A/High-A)
Intrigued by his future potential based on a high level of athleticism and the physical gains he made during over the years he was being scouted and evaluated by the organization as a young teenager, the Mets made officially signing Alexander Ramirez their top priority, and on July 2, 2019- the first day of the 2019-2020 international rookie free agent signing window- they tendered Ramirez a contract worth $2.05 million dollars, the third highest given to an international rookie in franchise history, behind fellow top-prospects Francisco Alvarez and Ronny Mauricio. He would have suited up in 2020 had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic and made his professional debut during the fall instructional league instead.
He performed well during extended spring training and made his debut in organized games in 2021 with the St. Lucie Mets, an extremely aggressive assignment given that not only would he be extremely young for the league, but it would be his first exposure to professional baseball. The second-youngest player in the Low-A Southeast and one of three 18-year-olds to play in the league along with Pittsburgh’s Alexander Mojica and the Yankees’ Jasson Dominguez, Ramirez appeared in 76 games and held his own. All in all, he was roughly a league average hitter, batting .258/.326/.384 with 5 home runs, 16 stolen bases in 23 attempts, and 23 walks to 104 strikeouts.
He began the 2022 season in St. Lucie for a second time, and made short work of his Florida State League competition, hitting .284/.360/.443 in 67 games with 6 home runs, 17 stolen bases in 26 attempts, and 28 walks to 68 strikeouts. He was promoted to the Brooklyn Cyclones on July 4 and remained in Coney Island for the remainder of the year, hitting .278/.329/.427 in 54 games with 5 home runs, 4 stolen bases in 11 attempts, and 16 walks to 54 strikeouts. All in all, the 19-year-old combined to hit .281/.346/.436 in 121 games with 11 home runs, 21 stolen bases in 37 attempts, and 44 walks to 122 strikeouts.
At the plate, Ramirez hands at about the letters, with the bat straight and upright. All in one motion, he loads on his back leg, while bringing his hands back and up a bit. During this movement, he twists his wrists and tilts his bat head towards first base, towards his right side. As he strides forward, with a very slight leg lift, borderline toe tap, he twists his wrists again, now tilting his bat head to the opposite side, the more familiar 45 degrees or so to behind his head to the left. According to Mets director of hitting development Hugh Quattlebaum, “He’s got some unique movements in his swing, but it’s probably too early to tell if they are going to be signature movements or things he might have to tweak over time…He’s got a pretty aggressive bat tip and a lot of work to move it to where he actually likes to launch from, so he does have some bigger movements. It seems to me when he has quieted some of them down, which he has done at times when he’s had some success, he can harness those movements and kind of be more a complete package of control.”
Ramirez has incredible bat speed, which is why he’s been able to make it work. He generally has not had too many problems handling premium velocity but has shown to be a bit susceptible to breaking balls, particularly pitches down and away. Despite having less time to react on fastballs, his bat path does not need to compensate for as much vertical as it does against breaking balls. Given how little professional experience Ramirez has, this is hardly shocking, but his approach is also partially to blame, as he can get aggressive and really expand the zone. Better discipline will result in fewer weak ground balls, fewer infield fly balls, and in more balls hit squarely that Ramirez will be able to drive.
Tall and athletic, Ramirez runs with an effortless, graceful gait, posting plus and even occasional plus-plus times in the 60-yard dash, allowing him to cause havoc on the base paths. He is still learning how to read pitchers and their movements to home, but Ramirez should be a double-digit base stealer in the future with strong success rates. In the outfield, that speed gives him the present ability to play centerfield. He reads the ball off the bat well and has more than enough range to cover anything remotely hit in his direction. He needs to better refine the routes that he takes to the ball to be able to stay at the position in the future, as he will likely continue adding mass to his frame. Just prior to going pro, Ramirez put on a few pounds of muscle, and at 6’3”, 170-pounds, he definitely has room for more. If he grows to the point that his ability to play center is compromised, he has a plus arm that would allow him to shift to right field.
Ramirez’ stats were pretty solid, especially in relation to age and level, but his swing worries me. He showed some problems with strikeouts, weak contact, and elevating the ball, and it’s only gonna get tougher from here. Ramirez was 19 in 2022, not 29, so he is still very much in the developing phase of his career, but it’s something to keep in mind. Luckily, Ramirez is a toolshed and has plenty of secondary skills to contribute value in other aspects of the game when and if he goes through some baseball growing pains.
Ramirez continues to display intriguing offensive tools, with good bat speed and strong exit velocities evidencing his latent power potential, even if he only hit 11 in 121 games in 2022. His overall performance as a 19-year-old across two A-Ball levels, though not mind blowing, was quite good. I still have some concerns regarding his aggressive approach, one that leaves him vulnerable to better breaking stuff and also leads to more weak contact than you’d like to see. I don’t think it’s a Mauricio-level concern yet, but it is the big flaw here and something that bears monitoring.
Alex Ramirez is probably the single biggest riser in the Mets system this year. While Álvarez and Baty were already well known prior to the year, Ramirez was significantly less so. Regardless, he was good in both Single-A and High-A, hitting a combined .281/.346/.436 across both levels. He might not be a center fielder forever, but he’s clearly the best outfield prospect in the Mets system, and Double A will be an interesting test for him.