Really not much coming from Camp. It’s great to see guys out there and working on things but of course most of the stories are things that we could have already anticipated. One guy that is pumping out quite a bit of content since the start of camp is Mr. Larry LaRue. He’s got a lot of great, short, pieces on a lot of guys including an interesting little video on Chance Ruffin and how he throws a slider.
One person he does a short profile on –that’s not joke at someone short in stature– this morning is Erasmo Ramirez. A lot of people have been watching him quite intently since his 2009 VSL season where he posted a spectacular K:BB ratio of 16 over 88 innings. While this was as a soft tossing, strike zone cutting pitcher with a potential plus change-up. He’s grown from that into a young pitcher with a fastball that sits 91-92 and can get cranked up to 94 on good days despite his 5’11 height. He also sports a nice little slider that while underwhelming last April has drawn the impression that it could become a major league average pitch. Oh, and that potential plus change-up has grown too and is already a major league pitch and could be more than that.
This all with the plus command and the ability to throw all three pitches for strikes. I must admit I wasn’t quite excited to catch him last year. But was far from disappointed. It was the first time I had seen him in person and Jackson is how I catch a lot of guys coming through the Mariners minor league system. The way the Biscuits bullpen is setup right a long the right field fence line it makes for an easy time of watching, filming and even once in a while interacting with guys. Erasmo was one of the few guys I’ve sincerely enjoyed watching in pre-game. He was just SO happy. He had so much energy and excitement. It was like the first time he had stepped foot in front of a crowd, but it was his 3rd start of the season and already a muggy 90+ degrees outside. Yet there he stood with a huge smile on his face telling jokes in English and interacting not just with myself but others around me.
Now I’m sure if no one else Chris Harris will agree with me when I say that I’m not alone in the fact that Generals’ returning manager Jim Pankovits scares me. He’s a lot like Eric Wedge in the fact that he’s firey and intense. Though, I don’t think he’s the type to ever grow a mustache. I like him a lot and I think he’s had a big impact on a lot of the young guys. Pankovits would sit down there in the bullpen during the warm-ups, talking with Ramirez.
Ramirez just took everything in stride, smiling the whole time. it was really a lot of fun to witness. He just looked thrilled to be there, always energetic and full of excitement. I left being very impressed with Ramirez and while I don’t think he’ll make the opening day roster, I would be surprised if he was the first guy recalled from Tacoma. He doesn’t profile to have anything much beyond a good 4th or 5th starter on a playoff team. But he presents a ton of great value in a very small package, and an infectious smile.