It's been a long road to the majors this season for Erasmo Ramirez, but he seems to have arrived. Baker is reporting that it's indeed Ramirez who will make the start, finally appearing for the Mariners after an injury and full rotation halted his progress.
Erasmo Ramirez was in contention to break camp with the Mariners before a seemingly minor triceps injury kept him sidelined until late May, when he finally made his Tacoma debut on the 28th. Ramirez was dominating AAA while Bonderman stayed afloat, yet just as soon as both started getting shelled, Ramirez gets the call. Some of us called for this sooner, but there's a delay in transactions us bloggers often don't have the humility to accept. The right move got made, eventually. I'm happy it was made.
Despite Ramirez's struggles over his past two starts (.959 OPS against), his Tacoma performances were excellent, striking out 42 batters in 43.2 innings, while only walking 14, six of which were uncharacteristically in his latest start. Ramirez saw his K/9 rise to 8.7 in Tacoma, the highest of his minor league career. Ramirez was also a bit of a revelation for the Mariners last season, posting a 3.55 FIP/3.75 xFIP/3.99 tERA across his 59 innings. It wasn't just as a reliever that Ramirez was effective either, holding opposing batters to a .259 wOBA across his eight starts.
Erasmo Ramirez has long gone unheralded in the Mariners organization, yet remains one of the players I'm most excited about. He went under the prospect radar for a number of reasons, including his small stature and injury issues. He's never thrown more than 152.2 innings in a season, so perhaps it's a good thing he spent some time on the disabled list, as the Mariners will have the rest of the season to evaluate him without worrying about an innings cap.
This is exciting. I've envisioned Erasmo Ramirez as a part of a future Mariners rotation, and here he is. Three of the five spots in the rotation just became must see TV, as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't necessarily expect Ramirez to be as successful as he was last year - .243 BABIP and all - but I do expect him to be considerably better than Jeremy Bonderman, and good enough to solidify himself as a part of this team's future. I have a higher grade on Erasmo Ramirez's future than most do, and think he can top out as a #3 starter. Ramirez is learning to miss bats, has a great out pitch (change), and is still very young.
It's actually easy to forget how young Erasmo Ramirez is. He just turned 23 years old a few months ago, and is younger than Brad Miller, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton. Much of his future success will depend on staying healthy, but Erasmo Ramirez has done nothing but improve and impress during his time in this organization. Now he's a part of the Mariners rotation, and barring more health issues should be here to stay for the rest of the season.
Even with Danny Hultzen's stupid shoulder, can you envision a rotation a year from today with Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Erasmo Ramirez, Taijuan Walker, and Danny Hultzen? This is exciting. Let yourself get carried away a little. I know I'm going to.