If Heart and Desire Are Elements of the Criteria

Washington Nationals Prospect: J.P. Ramierez, OF
by Rodger M. Wood

While not listed among Baseball America or any other sports journal’s top 10 Washington Nationals minor league prospects, if the size of a player’s heart and desire to improve are part of the criteria, outfielder JP Ramierez is
a sure shot to make the majors.

While impressed by his hitting when they selected him out of New Braunfels HS (Texas) in 15th round of the 2008 June Amateur draft, the Nationals questioned whether the 18-year Ramirez’ speed and quickness would be adequate down the road for major league base running and regular outfield play.

Hitting 364 BA, 0 HR, 11 RBI in 11 AB in 5 games at Nationals’ GLC affiliate in 2008, and 264 BA, 4 HR, and 39 RBI in 295 AB in 72 games at rookie half season NY/Penn Vermont in 2009, the 5-10, 185 outfielder showed hitting flashes, but short on speed, there was still a question if he had sufficient tools to succeed in left and right field.

Recognizing his own shortcomings, JP took the bull by the horns.

“During the off seasons, I’ve worked out regularly with trainer Lee Fiosi, who has also worked with Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, and Scott Smith, both of whom helped me to develop an intensive work out routine to improve my speed and quickness.”

During the 2010 season at Low A – Hagerstown, hitting coach and former major leaguer, Tony Tarasco said Ramirez matured in other ways.

“JP knew what he had to do to make a steadfast upgrade of his skills. He came out to the ball park every day at 11 AM, took extra cuts, developed strike zone discipline and learned how to hit what the pitcher gave him.”

“He also worked hard on running and improving his outfield play, taking extra fly balls to get a better jump on the ball, and cutting some time off his 1B to 3B, and 2B-HP speed.”

The results of youngster’s hard work became evident in a breakout season at Hagerstown. He hit 296 BA, 16 HR, and drove in 75 RBI in 506 AB, showed better speed on the bases stretching out 27 2B, 4 3B, and stealing 3 bases, and in 73 games in the field, catching up to 116 fly balls, throwing out two runners, and making only 6 errors.

Always seeming to drive the ball somewhere, JP also strove in clutch hitting situations. By his own admission, he was more focused when challenged and loved to be in clutch situations.

He’ll need more seasoning in the minor leagues, but with his heart, work ethic, and attitude, JP will do just fine at Fast A – Potomac this season and surely succeed In a couple seasons,
when he arrives at the “Big Scene” in Washington.

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Also look at the 2010 Hagerstown Suns 164-photo folder taken by Rodger M. Wood

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