There aren’t many players who have as much potential as Mets No. 4 prospect Alex Ramirez.
“He’s very, very talented,” Hitting Coach Richie Benes said. “He’s got speed, he’s got good bat-to-ball skills, he has some power, he hits the ball the other way. He can pull for power, hit oppo for power. The sky’s the limit for him, so I don’t know, it’s a long way before he gets to his ceiling.”
Benes lauded his athleticism, which he said is probably his main trait at this stage in his career. That is the general report on Ramirez as well, that he’s uber-athletic but also pretty raw.
It makes sense, after all, he’s just 19 years old. He is one of just six 19-year-olds in the South Atlantic League this season and is the youngest player currently on the Cyclones by just over a year. He has all the tools, he just needs time to develop them.
“He can be as good as he can be, he controls that,” Manager Luis Rivera said. “So far he shows good tools, so if he continues to work hard on a daily basis and be consistent, the sky’s the limit. He can be a really good player.”
Both coaches, independently of each other, had the same thing to say about how good Ramirez can be.
“The sky’s the limit.”
And it truly is. Of MLB Pipeline’s top-100 prospects, a list where Ramirez clocks in at No. 90, just 21 of them are 19 years old or younger. Of those 21, just eight are currently playing in High-A or above. Ramirez is one of the eight.
“He’s on another planet that kid,” Benes said.
He said that right now, the biggest thing for Ramirez is just getting experience so he can improve.
“He does a really good job of being a student of the game,” Benes said. “And he’s continuing to do that, so it’s good to see that he’s gonna get better because he naturally works hard. He doesn’t know anything else.”
The 6-foot-3 outfielder from the Dominican Republic started the year in Low-A St. Lucie but earned a promotion to High-A Brooklyn on July 4 after hitting .284/.359/.443 over 67 games.
“The difference [I’ve] seen is the intelligence of the players,” Ramirez said through Benes, who was acting as an interpreter. “The players [in High-A] are much more ahead of the game than down in Low-A”
He earned his promotion along with fellow Dominican outfielder Stanley Consuegra, a former subject of The Brooklyn Cyclones Report. Ramirez said he and Consuegra are close friends and have been since being in the Mets Dominican Academy together.
“Even outside of baseball, [we] spend time together,” Ramirez said. “Go to each other’s houses, just hanging out, so [I] was very excited [we] both got called up at the same time.”
Ramirez started off slow after arriving in Brooklyn, going just 5-for-37 in his first eight games, but then he exploded, going 19-for-43 in the final 11 games to close out July. In those 11 games, he recorded at least one hit in 10 of them and smashed five home runs, two of them in the same game on the final day of the month.
He’s cooled down a bit since going 10-for-54 in August with just one extra-base hit through Wednesday.
“I think that he’s trying to do too much,” Rivera said. “Something normal for a young kid, trying to do a lot.”
His overall numbers are still solid though, hitting .254/.313/.425 with five homers, six doubles, one triple, and 25 RBIs through 33 games with Brooklyn. His OPS of .738 is the highest of any Cyclones player currently on the team who has any significant number of at-bats.
Benes has seen Ramirez improve not only this season but throughout the last couple of years he’s been in the organization.
“He’s matured,” Benes said. “He’s matured a lot since DR. Since he’s been here in Brooklyn, it’s been good to see how locked in he is and the adjustments that he’s made in just a few weeks. He’s been great.”
Benes also said he has done a great job at handling everything else that comes with being a top prospect, like the extra media attention.
“He hasn’t changed a bit,” Benes said. “Very cool, nonchalant, nothing fazes him.”
Rivera agreed, and he said he spoke with him when he got to Brooklyn to prepare him for the attention he’s going to get. He told him it’s important to play the game the right way and be a professional both on and off the field, because a lot of eyes will be on him.
When asked about how he’s handled all that extra baggage, Ramirez laughed and said he’s aware of it but not too focused on it.
“[I] just want to be one of the normal players, one of the regular players,” Ramirez said. [I don’t] pay too much attention to it. As long as [I’m] helping the team and getting better every day, that’s all that matters.”