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The Aces - $
Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:01am|
By Chris Hadorn
KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.
Tonight in their home tilt versus the San Diego Padres, the Seattle Mariners are handing the ball to Nicaraguan right-hander Erasmo Ramirez. In seven starts at Triple-A Tacoma this year, Ramirez went 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA and a 29:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 37 2/3 innings.
Throughout his minor league career, the 22-year-old has performed well with an impressive 38-16 (.704) career record and a 3.10 ERA thanks to above-average control. Over his minor league lifetime, Ramirez has only averaged 1.35 walks per nine innings, and his career 5.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio is one of the best figures one will ever see from a prospect.
While Ramirez can pound the strike zone with the best of them, his stuff rates as average. He features a low- to mid-90s fastball with some sink, but it has been known to be flat at times and catch too much of the plate. He also throws an above-average changeup and a decent slider.
The big concern with the 5-foot-11, 205-pound righty is that he throws too many strikes, and sometimes his offerings become hittable meatball pitches. However, he averaged only 0.60 homers per nine frames in the minors, so he might be fine pitching half of his games at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Ramirez is not on the same level as Mariners pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, but he could pitch well with a strong Mariners defense behind him that ranks third in the majors with a .718 defensive efficiency rating.
Ramirez profiles as a fourth starter, but could surprise with better performance if BABIP works in his favor. He's worth a flier in AL-only formats.
With Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando shelved with injuries and Roy Oswalt slowly bringing his endurance up in the minors, the Texas Rangers' starting rotation has gone from a deep arsenal of arms to a thin situation in a short time.
As a result, the Rangers are summoning right-handed pitching prospect Justin Grimm from Double-A Frisco to start Saturday's game versus the Houston Astros. Grimm went 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA and a 67:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 77 innings with Frisco this year.
The 2010 fifth-round selection out of Georgia attacks hitters with a low- to mid-90s fastball that has late sink and has been a major reason why he has yielded only three deep flies all season long. Grimm also throws a hard breaking ball and a developing circle changeup.
Although Grimm has a tough time repeating his maximum-effort delivery at times, he has been able to perform well because of the movement on his pitches.
Grimm has been likened to a middle-of-the-rotation or fourth starter, but he has an athletic 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame with some projection- and he still shows signs of growing as a pitcher.
In AL-only dynasty formats, Grimm is a sleeper pitcher to stash if one can acquire him on the cheap. He could be a late-bloomer if his changeup continues to develop into a reliable third pitch.