The Philadelphia Phillies open a four-game long weekend in Denver, and a young reliever could become a key contributor in the always tough Coors Field.
Prospects don’t have to slide into the big league rotation in order to be a positive contributor in the majors. 23-year old rookie reliever Edubray Ramos has proved just that in his brief time this year since his call-up to the Phillies.
Ramos has been impressive through seven relief appearances thus far, especially when you compare him to some of the other pitchers the Phillies bullpen has trotted out. He has a FIP (fielding-independent pitching) of just 1.22 while posting a 10.8 K/9, both of which are among the best on the Phillies pitching staff.
What’s been even more impressive from Ramos is that he has pitched in high-leverage situations for the Phillies with success.
Excluding his most recent appearance on July 6th against the Braves, Ramos has entered the game at an average leverage index of 1.35. With anything above 1.0 equating to a higher than average leverage situation, this shows that Ramos is performing well with the game on the line.
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While Ramos has a small major league sample size, he was also stout this season between AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley, carrying a 0.72 WHIP and allowing opposing batters just a .171 average.
Ramos’s best tool has always been his fastball, and it has continued to be impressive this season. It has maxed out at 97 mph, and averages almost 95 mph.
Prior to the 2016 season, many scouting reports attributed a four-pitch arsenal to Ramos. However, he has dropped his curveball and changeup to focus on what was his best off-speed pitch, the slider. MLB.com rated it at 50 (meaning it is already major league average) with Fangraphs grading it as a 45+.
With Ramos honing the slider, it has begun to look at least major league average if not better. Brooks Baseball’s “At-A-Glance” describes Ramos’s slider as such:
"His slider generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers’ sliders, sweeps across the zone, has exceptional depth, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sliders and has below average velo."
With a solid two-pitch punch between the fastball and slider, Ramos has made quite the impression on manager Pete Mackanin.
After just three appearances, Philly.com’s Matt Gelb quoted the Phillies skipper, “I don’t want to jump the gun, but he certainly has the stuff and the demeanor to be a closer, from what I’ve seen in a short time.”
The Phillies had to protect Ramos from the Rule 5 draft last year by putting him on the 40-man roster, and they put a lot of faith in him doing so.
While the main prospect outlets haven’t seen him as more than a low-leverage reliever, if Ramos continues to dominate in high-pressure situations he could increase his role in the Phillies’ bullpen as the season continues, or into the future.