YOHAN RAMIREZ, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: May 6, 1995
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 212
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2016, Houston Astros
How Acquired: Trade (from Guardians)
Country: Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
At 21, Ramirez was older than the typical Latin American prospect when the Astros signed him.  He features a mid-90s fastball with good movement that’s a plus pitch when he can command it, but his control has always been well below average.  He also throws a slider that gets a lot of swings and misses.  He’s thrown a curve and change in the past, but more recently he’s stuck just with the two pitches.  The end result has been some very high K rates and low opponents’ averages, combined with lots of walks.  Ramirez made modest progress coming up through the Astros’ system and Seattle selected him in the Rule 5 draft after he reached AA.  That got him a season in the majors, although it was the abbreviated pandemic season.  He was fairly effective despite walking a batter an inning, but his effectiveness dropped in 2021 and again in 2022.  His velocity also dropped in 2022, from 95-96 mph to 94.  In the minors, Ramirez generally had moderate platoon splits, likely due to his reliance on the slider.  In the majors he’s had extreme problems with left-handed hitters.  Ramirez was dfa’d twice in 2022, with the Pirates picking him up the second time for cash.

2016
DSL:  1-1-1, 2.39 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 4.1 BB/9, 5.1 K/9
R:  1-0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

In the DSL, Ramirez had a good debut despite weak walk and K rates.

2017
A:  4-5-1, 5.07 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 65.2 IP, 6.0 BB/9, 7.3 K/9
A+:  0-0-1, 1.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 5.0 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
AA:  0-0-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 4.2 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 15.4 K/9

Apart from cameos at two higher levels, Ramirez spent the season in low A, splitting his time between starting and relieving.  He wasn’t easy to hit, with opponents batting .245 against him, but he struggled to throw strikes.

2018
A:  5-7-1, 2.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 58.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 9.6 K/9
A+:  1-1-2, 3.15 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 6.3 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Ramirez went back to low A and, pitching mainly as a starter, had a much better season, with a higher K rate.  He spent the last two months of the season pitching in relief in high A and the control problems hampered him again.

2019
A+:  1-2-0, 2.89 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 43.2 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 14.2 K/9
AA:  3-5-1, 4.76 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 62.1 IP, 7.5 BB/9, 12.9 K/9

Ramirez split his time between high A and AA, again starting and relieving.  He was hard to hit; opponents batted just .172 and slugged just .247 against him.  He also had very high K rates.  His control, though, was weak at the lower level and very bad in AA.  After the season, Seattle selected him from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft.

2020
MLB:  0-0-3, 2.61 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 8.7 BB/9, 11.3 K/9

Seattle kept Ramirez in the majors during the pandemic season, satisfying the Rule 5 requirements.  He was fairly successful pitching solely in relief, remaining very hard to hit.  Opponents batted just .130 against him, but he walked a batter an inning.

2021
AAA:  0-0-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 17.1 IP, 6.8 BB/9, 12.5 K/9
MLB:  1-3-2, 3.90 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 11.4 K/9

The Mariners sent Ramirez to AAA to start the season, but he was up and down several times and pitched a little more in the majors.  He wasn’t very effective in AAA, due to walks, but for some reason he walked fewer in the majors.  Opponents in the majors batted .188 against him, but he had trouble with gopher balls, allowing one every four and a half innings.

2022
AAA (Sea):  0-1-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 6.0 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 10.5 K/9
AAA (Cleve):  1-0-0, 4.35 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 8,7 BB/9, 11.3 K/9
AAA:  1-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 5.1 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
MLB (Sea):  1-0-0, 7.56 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 8.1 IP, 6.5 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
MLB (Cleve):  0-0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 4.5 K/9
MLB:  3-1-1, 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Ramirez opened the season in the majors, but he wasn’t effective and Seattle sent him to AAA at the beginning of May.  A couple weeks later they designated him for assignment and then sent him to Cleveland for cash.  He pitched only once in the majors for Cleveland.  In AAA with them, he allowed just three hits in 10.1 IP, but he walked ten.  The Guardians designated him for assignment on July 4 and the Pirates acquired him for cash.  After the deal, Ramirez spent a couple of brief stretches with Indianapolis, but otherwise was one of the Pirates’ most-used relievers in August and September.  He got fairly good results, with poor walk and K rates.  That’s likely why his xFIP of 4.16 was weaker than the ERA.  On the year in the majors, Ramirez had significant trouble with left-handed hitters, who put up an .883 OPS against him.  Right-handed hitters managed only .617.

Ramirez is yet another entry in Ben Cherington’s unending and, so far, extraordinarily unsuccessful fascination with waiver claims and the equivalent, especially in the bullpen.  Like Manny Banuelos, Ramirez was OK with the Pirates, and that seems to be where they set the bar.  His roster spot will probably be safe for a while, but it shouldn’t be.  He has one option left.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2023: Major League Minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut: 7/24/2020
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 12/12/2019
Options Remaining: 1 (USED:  2021, 2022)
MLB Service Time: 1.168
TRANSACTIONS
July 11, 2016: Signed by the Houston Astros as an international free agent.
December 12, 2019: Selected from the Houston Astros by the Seattle Mariners in the Rule 5 draft.
May 13, 2022: Designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners.
May 16, 2022: Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Cleveland Guardians for cash considerations.
July 4, 2022: Designated for assignment by the Cleveland Guardians.
July 8, 2022: Traded by the Cleveland Guardians to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.
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