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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Harold Ramirez

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Media Day
Great smile.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Harold Ramirez is a 22-year old right-handed hitting outfielder. He came over to the Jays from the Pirates, along with Reese McGuire, as incentive to take Francisco Liriano’s contract. I can’t imagine the Jays needed the incentive, but I’m sure they didn’t argue.

Ramirez has played all three outfield spots, in the minors, but it doesn’t look like he can stay in center and likely doesn’t have the arm for right. So, if he’s going to have a full-time job, left field would be the most likely position. That puts a bit of pressure on his bat.

He’s been hitting for a good average. Last year he hit .311/.360/.407 with 2 home runs, in Double A. In 5 minor league seasons, he’s hit .306/.364/.411. He doesn’t have any power and he doesn’t walk all that much (5.1% walk rate last year), so he has to keep the batting average up.

Last year he had a .363 BABIP, and that’s close to his career number, so he is hitting them where they ain’t. I’m not sure he can continue that as he moves into the upper levels, but he squares up the ball well.

Harold steals bases, but with a success rate that makes you wish he wouldn’t. Last year he stole 7 and was caught 10 times. Career he has 73 steals, caught 44 times. I wouldn’t expect his success to improve as he moves up, so, perhaps, just stop trying or pick your spots better.

To me he looks like a 4th outfielder type. Good enough, defensively, in any of the three spots that he won’t drive you crazy playing a handful of games a year. He could be a good pinch hitter. A decent enough runner that he could pinch run for you. But any fourth outfielder, if he plays long enough, will have the odd season where he falls into a full time, and, if the BABIP gods are on his side, that might turn into 2 or 3 full time seasons.

Of course, maybe he’ll find a coach that helps him unlock some hidden power. He looks big enough to hit 15-25 home runs. Maybe he’ll strike up a conversation with Cito Gaston this spring.

Does Harold get a call up this year? He’s on the 40-man and he puts up nice batting averages, so I could see him getting a call in September or if we get hit with some injuries. He isn’t all that far down our depth charts.

ZiPS projection is for him to hit .249/.296/.342 (in 441 at bats). No chance he gets anywhere close to that many at bats (but I don’t think ZiPS really figures on playing time. I’d be very surprised if he got 40 at bats. But 20 or so? That wouldn’t be a surprise.