Friday, November 2, 2012

Dominican Winter League Notes: Ramirez, Hanson, Sosa

Here are some notes on three players I saw in the Dominican Winter League on November 2nd:

Jose Ramirez is a 20 year old Indians shortstop. He has been a good hitter through out his (short so far) minor league career. Ramirez is a Switch hitter.
and does not have the prettiest swing from the left side. He seems to want to to go the other way from both sides. I hate to use the "ball jumps off his bat" cliche, but he does seem to have some legitimate pop despite not swinging very hard. He doesn't have great ISOs or power numbers, mainly relying on a OBP and high average ability.
Here is some hasty video I took of him from the broadcast:
I get about 4.10 to first on the video, and he pulls up a little at the end, so he is pretty quick obviously (he stole 15 bases this year).

Ramirez was playing 2nd base when I saw him in the Dominican Winter League while Hector Gomez (who I thought looked bat at the plate with a really aggressive and violent swing but pretty good out in the field. He has a really strong arm) played shortstop. He doesn't really show up as a big time prospect, but he hits and plays in the middle of the infield, which at least makes him interesting.

Juan Sosa of the Phillies has a really good looking change/slider at 84 MPH that breaks down and looks like a decent strikeout pitch. The smallish (6-2 165, looks smaller, or at least did on the screen I was watching) reliever (started 5 games this year in Advanced A, but pitched mainly out of the bullpen) really struggled when I saw him, giving up a lot of hard hit balls.
Here is some video of Sosa throwing from 2010:
That delivery seems to provide him some deception without being very quirky or hard to repeat. In fact, he seems to be throwing very free and easy.

Alen Hanson of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization has a gigantic swing that is both long and violent. The switch hitter will fall for breaking balls but the 20 year old showed off some impressive power in West Virginia (A ball) in 2012. The park does play a little hitter friendly, but he had the 2nd best ISO on the team, and a better ISO on the road than at home. He was slightly better from the right side, but was still good from both sides. He also had a solid K/BB with a good walk percentage (though that can certainly be misleading in the minors), so perhaps his impatience was fueled by facing older and more savy pitchers (or perhaps he has the sort of fake patience that you see in many minor league bats that doesn't translate in the upper levels or the Majors. Time will tell, but the numbers seem to suggest he is advanced for his age).

His reputation is of a player with good speed (the Baseball Cube rates him as a 97 out of 100!) and he put up a 7.9 speed score this season (after scores of 8.3 and 9.3 in lower levels). Assuming that the score would translate to the Majors (if someone has done a study on speed scores translating from the minors to the majors, I would like to know), this would be comparable to Angel Pagan, who I have at a 3.87 to first and Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) has a 4.00. That is fast. Defensively, he plays shortstop, along with 2nd and 3rd (and some games in LF). It doesn't seem like he will stick there according to many scouting reports (though some are more optimistic), but if the swing and bat plays, it won't matter that much.

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