Jose Ramirez: Looking at Braves’ new acquisition


Jose Ramirez, a RHP prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization, came to the Atlanta Braves in a trade Friday. Here’s a look at what the Braves got from Seattle in Ramirez.

The Atlanta Braves made a trade Friday evening with the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitching prospect Jose Ramirez in exchange for a player to be named later and/or cash considerations.

Atlanta wanted to find another talented young arm to help bolster their bullpen, while the Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto wanted to get something out of Ramirez, who was likely bound for the Rule 5 Draft, as Ramirez was unlikely to make the Mariners’ 40-man roster.

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The Braves will need to ensure that Jose Ramirez take part in camp and spring training with the team, otherwise he will then be subject to the Rule 5 Draft. Ramirez, 25, is a hard-throwing right-hander that routinely throws over 95 MPH.

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He was once a prized prospect by the New York Yankees that came to Seattle in the Dustin Ackley trade. While Jose Ramirez is a strong strikeout pitcher, he’s also a tad wild. In AAA, Ramirez struck out 110 hitters in 106.1 innings, but did walk 61 batters and hit seven more.

While the Atlanta Braves typically like pitchers with high strikeout per nine innings, walks were a persistent problem from the Atlanta bullpen in 2015. Perhaps Roger McDowell can help Jose Ramirez get the most out of his solid changeup, one that the Yankees’ system graded out at 70 of 80. McDowell is a former sinkerballer that preaches harnessing the control of downward moving pitches like sinkers, splitters, and changeups.

The Atlanta Braves have made it a priority to improve their bullpen in 2016, as 2015’s was disastrous once Jason Grilli tore his Achilles’ and Jim Johnson went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Alex Wood/Hector Olivera trade. Grilli is still in recovery and hopes to play this season. Atlanta re-acquired Johnson on a one-year deal last week.

If there is one area I would like to see the 2016 rebuilding Atlanta Braves improve from 2015 it is in the bullpen. Going from the second best in baseball behind the Kansas City Royals in 2014 to arguably the worst in 2015 was difficult to endure. The bullpen’s inability to hold leads late in games wreaked havoc on the club’s starting pitchers’ confidence.

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Middle relief may remain an issue for the club, but I hope that Braves GM John Coppolella can provide the team with suitable pitchers to fill the roles of closer, setup man, and long-arm guy. While I expect that the starting pitchers will do a better job of stringing together quality starts in 2016, I’d like to trust the arms taking the mound for the Braves from the 7th inning on. If the Atlanta Braves can tame the wild Jose Ramirez, then they might have gotten themselves some help in the back-end at a surprisingly low-cost.