Results tagged ‘ third base ’

The unlikely story of how Jose Ramirez became one of the Tribe’s biggest offensive surprises

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Jose Ramirez has been nothing short of incredible for us this season, but back in the Dominican Republic in 2009, Jose Ramirez was not the most sought after ballplayer, as Terry Pluto chronicles.

As Pluto writes, John Mirabelli, the Indians Senior Director of Scouting Operations said: “Jose was not close to being a top prospect. I don’t think he had any other offers except the one from us. I think Jose has surprised everybody.”

At age 17, Jose was older than most kids who were signed in the Dominican, as most of them had offers by 16. His stature was stocky, his power unclear but Tribe scout Ramon Pena say a raw athleticism in Ramirez that stood out to him.

Pluto writes: “There are events called the “Prospect League Games” in that country. It’s a place to scout the elite players.

‘Jose was not one of those guys,’ said Mirabelli. ‘He was a fill-in when someone else couldn’t play and they needed another guy. I was watching this game with Ramon Pena, and Jose was playing second base.’

Mirabelli said that was a concern.

‘The best Dominican players are at shortstop,’ he said. ‘The Dominican is known for their great shortstops. Jose was a small, stocky kid at second base. He didn’t look like a ballplayer. He wasn’t fluid. He didn’t have a great arm. He didn’t look that fast.’

He was just another guy playing on a lesser field.

‘But he got three hits that day,’ said Mirabelli.”

After watching him a bit more in 2009, the two decided to offer Ramirez a $50,000 signing bonus, well below the average of $200,000 at the time, but, nonetheless, a substantial amount of money for a Dominican kid paying baseball on overgrown ball fields.

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Ramirez hit his way through the farm system, before making his MLB debut in 2013, still far from the breakout season he was soon to have in 2016.

As Pluto chronicles, the praise for Jose Ramirez as an all-around baseball player only grew with his time in the Indians system: “He also knew how to play,” said Mirabelli. “He can steal a base. He can bunt. He did a very good job with the glove at second base. He may not have been a big-time athlete, but he’s a baseball player.”

Now, at age 23, Jose Ramirez is batting .305 with 10 HR and 57 RBI, an unbelievable addition to the first-place Tribe.

You can catch Pluto’s whole article here.

Hannahan at the Hot Corner

With the roster moves that came down the pipeline this morning, some of the biggest news of the day involved the announcement that Jack Hannahan would be the Indians’ starting third baseman to begin the season. Hanny was nice enough to share his reaction with TribeVibe and he also talked about getting off to a quick start after being sidelined for just over a week with a mid-back strain (2-for-2, 2 doubles yesterday vs. Milwaukee). Overall this spring, he is batting .300 (6-20) with 3 doubles, a home run and 5 RBI, while playing the kind of defense Jack has become known for.

Obviously decisions like these have ramifications for other players in camp and this one was no exception, as Lonnie Chisenhall was optioned to Triple-A Columbus where he will be the Clippers’ Opening Day third baseman and have the opportunity to receive regular playing time. Anytime a move is made involving one of the club’s top prospects it elicits a number of passionate responses from fans, but it’s important to maintain perspective and remember how the game of baseball has a way of teaching us all patience time and time again. At 23 years, 5 months and 23 days of age (as of March 27), Lonnie is currently the third-youngest player on the Indians 40-man roster. The only two players on the 40-man who have taken fewer trips around the sun are infielder Juan Diaz (23 years, 3 months, 15 days) and right-hander Danny Salazar (22 years, 2 months, 16 days) – incidentally, RHP Jeanmar Gomez is 4th-youngest (24 years, 1 month, 17 days). Like most other prospects their age, Juan and Danny finished the 2011 season at Double-A Akron and Low-A Lake County, respectively, while Lonnie spent the last 3 months of the year as the youngest member of the Indians Major League roster. To reiterate what Manny Acta touched on today, Lonnie’s been one of the youngest players at every level of his professional career thus far. As a 22-year-old, he batted .255 (54-212) with 13 doubles, 7 homers and 22 RBI in 66 games for the Tribe, which stirs up memories of another former Indian who debuted at the same position. As many will recall, Jim Thome originally came up with the Tribe at the hot corner before making the transition to first base. In 3 seasons between 1991-93, Jim combined to hit .244 (90-369) with 18 doubles, 10 homers and 43 RBI in 114 games at roughly the same age as Lonnie – Jim debuted with the Tribe as a 21-year-old in ’91 and turned 23 shortly after joining the club during the ’93 campaign. While we all remember the outstanding career Jim had during his time in Cleveland, it’s healthy to recognize and respect the hard work, learning and repetition that was required to build it.

(Kudos to Danny Steele of the Indians Baseball Information Dept. for research support)

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