Ramirez Tough To Hit

Batters are hitting a mere .123 against Ramirez

TRENTON, NJ - After dealing with shoulder fatigue for the first three weeks of the season, Jose Ramirez has been dominant in his first four appearances for the Trenton Thunder. He has pitched 19 innings, struck out 26 batters, has only given up three earned runs and gotten himself back into his role as a starter.

One of the top pitching prospects in the organization, Thunder Manager Tony Franklin has been amazed with what he has seen from the hard-throwing 23 year old.

"Jeez! What a fastball!" Franklin said. "What a changeup! What a future! This guy is touted by the baseball world with his fastball and off-speed stuff and is known as one of our brighter pitching prospects.

"I saw the same thing out there when he pitched and I was very pleased. Guys like that don't come around very often with those types of fastballs."

Now that he is pitching again after missing the first three weeks of the season, he can keep working on his pitching and get himself into a starter's rhythm. He is expected to be on the mound every fifth day for the Thunder.

"It was just fatigue after throwing a lot the year before and now I feel 100%," Ramirez said with the help of a translator. "I have made the adjustments that I needed to from the bullpen and know what I need to do when I come in to start my games. Now I can try to pitch to the best of my abilities."

In a recent outing versus the Binghamton Mets on May 7, he dealt with the challenge of pitching against one of the top Mets' prospects, Rafael Montero. Ramirez only pitched four innings, but struck out five, gave up one earned run, and the Thunder were able to secure a 5-1 victory.

It was one of the better pitching duals that Franklin had watched in the minors -- one that had taken place a year ago in the Florida State League when Ramirez bested Montero with six no-hit innings in 2012 -- and it opened his eyes to the potential that each pitcher possessed.

"It was a good matchup with him and Montero," Franklin said. "Two excellent fastballs that both of them have. They can pitch. Not only do they throw, they can pitch.

"I remember seeing Doc Gooden when he was a youngster at 18 and thinking that he's not going to be in the minor leagues very long and he wasn't. So some of these kids, Montero from the Mets, Jose, they are quite the players and pitchers, and quite the talents."

With a three pitch arsenal that includes a mid-90s fastball, an improved slider, and a changeup, he has gained the potential to see the Major Leagues in the near future.

Though the expectations are always there when being a top prospect, especially in the Yankee's organization, Ramirez tries to only think about pitching and doing what he needs to do to help his team win.

"I try not to think about it," Ramirez said. "I know I am a top prospect, but I just want to continue to work hard and try not to put my mind on that. It's just going out there, performing, and trying to do my job."

Though he has the physical tools and pitching abilities, if there is one thing that Jose wants to work on the most, it is his focus and mentality.

Giving up hits and runs is a part of baseball, but when it happens to him, he wants to make sure he remains focused on doing his job rather than letting it affect his mindset negatively.

"The big thing is concentration. If I give up a hit on a fastball that probably should not have been hit, then I can get out of my concentration. So that is a part of it. I am trying to learn and trying to get better on that and mentally that is the key."

Being a teammate of his for a few seasons in the minor leagues, catcher J.R. Murphy has seen him develop into one of the top right-handed pitchers in the system.

"Jose has top of the line rotation stuff," Murphy said. "He has really developed his slider more this year than last year.

"He has a good hard fastball, a really good change up that I think is his best pitch and a strikeout pitch for righties or lefties, and now he is throwing his slider for strikes as his out pitch too. He is going to be tough to hit."

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