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Carlos Ramirez Latest Outfielder Turned Pitcher

The young prospect now focuses on the arm that first got him signed

Carlos Ramirez Latest Outfielder Turned Pitcher

May 27, 2015

Carlos Ramirez

Carlos Ramirez has found new life as a relief pitcher after converting from an outfielder. (Jay Blue/bluejaysfromaway.com)

One of the major stories in the Blue Jays minor league system from a year ago was the conversion of outfielder Carlos Ramirez into a relief pitcher. Even though the Blue Jays have a long history of transitioning players that’s having trouble piecing it together at the plate, Ramirez’s story is a little bit different than most that came before him.

The difference is the fact that Ramirez has never pitched in his life. Unlike a lot of his counterparts in professional baseball who have pitched a bit in high school, or college Ramirez has strictly been a position player his whole life.

This transition could definitely be viewed as a risky one on the Blue Jays part. But Ramirez had one thing going for him and that was a strong arm which picked up 28 assists in 319 games during his outfield career. Viewing this skill as a tremendous asset that could transition Ramirez into a pitcher with a lot of velocity on his pitches, the 2014 Lansing Lugnuts’ coaching staff took the prospect into the office and presented the idea to Ramirez, who was surprised by the news.

“Of everything they could have said to me that day the thought of becoming a pitcher was the last thing on my mind,” said Ramirez. “When they first asked me to switch I couldn’t say anything for a few minutes as I was lost for words. But after thinking about it for a couple minutes I said okay that’s fine with me.”

His transition meant he had to leave Lansing to report to extended spring training to prepare to be a pitcher in just four weeks. Dedicated to do just that, Ramirez took his new assignment in stride by developing a fastball and a slider in one month.

As expected Ramirez has the ability to dial it up on his pitches. With the talent to hit the mid-90’s with his fastball there’s no question why the 24-year old has found continued success as a pitcher. Mix that in with his high-80’s/low-90’s slider that he uses as his strikeout pitch and all things are pointing in the right direction for the prospect.

Ramirez is quickly becoming a reliable bullpen arm that can be used in any situation of the game. Since beginning his pitching career he has only allowed 16 earned runs and has racked up 38 strikeouts in his 44  innings pitched that has seen him perform for the Bluefield Blue Jays, Lansing Lugnuts, and Dunedin Blue Jays.

Impressed with the progress that Ramirez has made from his time in extended spring training in 2014 until now, Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching coach Jeff Ware is in awe of the transition Ramirez was able to complete at such a high level of play.

“I feel Carlos Ramirez has developed a lot,” stated Ware. “When I first saw him last year after he was sent down from Lansing to extended spring training he was really raw in his delivery. Carlos has come a long ways in one year. He always had a cannon of an arm in the outfield and he’s translating it to pitching. His fastball is in the mid-90’s and he has made a lot of adjustments. Carlos has given himself a chance to pitch in the minors and potentially at the big league level one day.”

Ware added. “I think the transition from being an outfielder to a pitcher is a tough one, especially if you have been in a system for a few years. It’s different if you’re a college guy that plays a position and occasionally throws a few innings here and there. Carlos has never pitched until he started the transition last year. The one thing that’s good for Carlos is that he has seen both sides of the game at the professional level. Carlos spent time as a hitter and he can take the things he learned as a hitter and put that in his pitch philosophy to help him get guys out.”

Obviously there were a few bumps on the road for Ramirez who found his position change challenging at first. But he is starting to really enjoy his opportunity to come out of the bullpen and compete against elite hitters every night.

“The transition to pitching was really hard as I have been hitting my whole life,” said Ramirez. “It was hard for a little while, but I feel I’m getting better with it. I really like the change to pitching right now.”

“Another adjustment I had to make was with my legs,” he added. “I’ve always had a strong arm. But as a pitcher you use your legs more than you do as an outfielder and I’m still adjusting to that aspect.”

Finding continued success in pitching due to his calm demeanor when he’s on the hill. Ramirez feels it’s important to always go out there and just focus on your job, while avoiding as many distractions as possible.

“I try to never over analyze any situation because that’s when you make mistakes,” stated Ramirez. “If there are runners on base I don’t panic I’m just focused on making my pitches and working on my command every outing.”

Be sure to follow Carlos Ramirez as he continues to develop his game with hopes of pitching in the big leagues in the near future.