Name: Alex Ramirez
Weight: 200 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, June 2, 2019 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
2023 Stats: 120 G, 457 AB, .221/.310/.317, 101 H, 21 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 56 BB, 114 K, 21/27 SB, .277 BABIP (High-A)
Impressed by his athleticism and the continued physical gains he was making while 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. 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. One of only a handful of teenagers to play in the Florida State League that year, 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. He remained in Brooklyn to start the 2023 season and remained there for the entire season, as the 20-year-old seemingly took some steps back at the plate. Appearing in 120 games for the Cyclones, he hit .221/.310/.317 with 7 home runs, 21 stolen bases, and 56 walks to 114 strikeouts.
At the plate, Ramirez holds 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 in 2022, “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.”
Thanks to his bat speed, Ramirez generally has not had many issues handling premium velocity but has shown to be a bit susceptible to breaking balls. Despite having less time to react on fastballs, his bat path does not need to compensate for as much vertical movement as it does against breaking balls. Weak contact on breaking balls seems to be the main reason his 2023 surface level stats suffered, as his infield fly ball rate jumped from a 13.6% rate with Brooklyn in 2022 to a 21.4% rate. Ramirez chases junk out of the zone far too often and compliments that with a penchant for subpar contact, frequently topping the ball harmlessly into the infield dirt or getting under it for weak cans of corn. On pitches that he can pick up on, he can make positive swing decisions, evidenced by his 10.7% walk rate last season, but that seems to be more a mirage than actual evidence of a discerning eye, so continuing to develop his eye and differentiate pitches that he can make contact, albeit poor contact, with from pitches he should make contact with, and drive, will be key to his future development.
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 since going pro, he has continued to add muscle mass. His growth has not affected his defense in a negative way but should his ability to play center ever be compromised, he has a plus arm that would allow him to shift to right field.