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SoxProspects News

October 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Keury De La Cruz and Henry Ramos

For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its season-end top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and previewing what's ahead for them in 2014. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

2013 Team: Salem Red Sox
Final Stats: 575 PA, .258/.297/.398, 9 HR, 36 2B, 31 BB, 130 K, 16 SB


Season in Review: After a strong year in 2012 at Low A Greenville earned him a late-season promotion to High A, Keury De La Cruz struggled in his return to Salem in 2013. Ranked 17th in the system back in April, De La Cruz’s stock dropped over the course of the summer and nearly all his offensive numbers fell from their totals during the previous season. In many ways, the outfielder’s aggressive approach caught up with him, as his on-base percentage fell below .300, and he finished with just 31 walks in 575 plate appearances. Though he did have an impressive June, winning the SoxProspects.com Player of the Month award after hitting .387/.415/.523, that was by far his best month for the 21-year-old Dominican. He hit the wall particularly hard in August, hitting just .180/.221/.303 for the month with 42 strikeouts in 131 plate appearances, although he continued to hit for good power for the pitcher-friendly Carolina League. – Alex Skillin

First-Hand Report and 2014 Preview: Perhaps more disappointing than De La Cruz’s statistical performance this year was how he regressed at the plate. His swing-for-the-fences mentality played in 2012 with Greenville, but in the eight-team Carolina League, already home to many pitcher-friendly parks, pitchers can get a book on hitters after a couple times around the circuit, and De La Cruz struggled mightily. He showed a poor plate approach and struggled to adjust to secondary offerings, frequently chasing them out of the zone late in the count. De La Cruz can still turn on the occasional fastball, but without standout speed or defense, his potential impact will have to be made with the bat. He has not mastered the level at Salem, but De La Cruz could also see himself in Portland next year simply due to a lack of other options. – Jon Meoli


#31 Henry Ramos, CF
2013 Team: Salem Red Sox
Final Stats: 540 PA, .252/.330/.416, 12 HR, 27 2B, 55 BB, 100 SO


Season in Review: Considering their respective expectations coming into the year, Ramos’ season stood in contrast to that of De La Cruz, his outfield counterpart in Salem. The center fielder set career highs in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and walks, while putting himself back on the prospect radar after falling off some in 2012. He ultimately finished in the top 20 among Carolina League hitters in doubles and home runs, having his best season at the plate since coming stateside in 2010.  Following a strong first half (.269/.357/.420), Ramos did cool off a bit after the All-Star break (.237/.307/.412), but given his extra-base totals, the 21-year-old is finally starting to show some of the power potential that the organization may have hoped from him and his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame. – Alex Skillin

First-Hand Report and 2014 Preview: From an outsider’s perspective, Ramos’ season looks similar to his first two, but he was a player who struck me as much more confident and comfortable with Salem this season. Manager Billy McMillon praised his work ethic and stressed that repetition over the last few seasons was always going to lead to improvements for Ramos, who didn’t play baseball full-time until signing. Ramos does not yet have any standout tools that can carry him at the highest level, but the switch-hitter has the potential to combine good future power with average speed and defense if his progression continues. Ramos likely earned a promotion to Portland to start the 2014 season. – Jon Meoli

Photo Credit: Keury De La Cruz and Henry Ramos by Kelly O'Connor