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July 30, 2021 at 12:08 AM

Trade Analysis: Scouting the Aldo Ramirez for Kyle Schwarber deal


After the Yankees and Rays made substantial moves ahead of the Trade Deadline, it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox made a deal to improve their team. Late Thursday night, the Red Sox announced they had acquired outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals for right-handed pitcher Aldo Ramirez

Schwarber has been very good this year in Washington, hitting .253/.340/.570 with 25 home runs in 303 plate appearances. That season line is driven by a remarkable month of June during which he hit .280/.362/.760 with 16 home runs in 116 plate appearances. Prior to that, he was hitting .230/.319/.447 with 9 home runs in 182 plate appearances. In early July, however, Schwarber suffered a right hamstring strain and he has been on the injured list since then. He is due back at some point in early August, at which point he should provide a big boost to a Red Sox lineup that is only averaging 4.3 runs since the All-Star break. Schwarber has exclusively played outfield this year and there isn't a clear spot for him in the current Red Sox lineup. I suspect the Red Sox will try him at first base, where they have a substantial need as they have got among the worst production in all of baseball from that position. He also will likely play some outfield and at designated hitter in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Schwarber has an $11.5 million mutual option for next year and a $3 million buyout. If he picks up the option the calculus changes some, but for now, we will operate under the impression he will decline it. 

In return for Schwarber, the Red Sox gave up one of their top pitching prospects, right-hander Aldo Ramirez. Ramirez is currently eighth in the SoxProspects Rankings, holding steady for the season, even though he is currently on the disabled list with right-elbow tendonitis. For the year, the 20-year-old Ramirez has a 2.03 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 31 innings with Low-A Salem. He has 32 strikeouts and only 8 walks and opponents are hitting .221/.269/.311 against him. Ramirez signed out of Mexico in April 2018 and made his debut in the DSL that summer. He participated in the Fall Instructional League after the 2018 season and moved up to Lowell in 2019, where he really impressed striking out 63 and walking only 19 in 61.2 innings. After the 2020 season was canceled, Ramirez again participated in the Fall Instructional League. He showed increased velocity, really impressing opposing scouts who identified him as the top pitching prospect there. Here is Ramirez's full scouting report

Physical Description: Athletic, lean frame with some remaining projection, especially in his upper body. Quick feet.

Mechanics: Throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side. Quick arm. Deliberate, vertical delivery. High leg lift. Could do a better job incorporating his lower half. Finishes upright and square to the plate. Arm action has a stab behind, but is relatively free and easy. Good rhythm in delivery, works quickly. Repeats well. Varies delivery times from the stretch. Has deception in his delivery, hides the ball well behind his head until late, giving hitters less time to pick it up.

Fastball: 92-95 mph. Pitch shows life and sink. Velocity is trending up and has improved each year since he signed. Advanced command and control for his age. Always around the zone; throws competitive pitches, which allows him to work deeper into games. Potential plus offering with refined command.

Changeup: 86-88 mph. Best secondary pitch. Splitter-ish movement with late drop down and out of the zone. Advanced feel. Flashed plus at times during the 2018 season, but rarely incorporated the pitch in 2019 looks with Lowell. During 2020 Fall Instructs, pitch was very effective and elicited lots of weak contact on the ground. Potential plus-to-better offering.

Curveball: 77-81 mph. Shows confidence in and feel for pitch. Will throw in any count. At its best, shows 11-to-5, two-plane break. Can bury down and out of the zone or backdoor the pitch to steal a called strike. Shape and depth vary at times. Below-average spin rate. Potential average offering.

Career Notes: Red Sox purchased his rights from Aguascalientes in the Mexican League for $550,000 in April 2018. Showed advanced control for his age in the DSL in 2018. Participated in the 2018 and 2020 Fall Instructional League. Was identified by scouts as one of the top pitchers at the 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation: Potential back-end starter. Ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Very interesting young arm with a strong track record of performance in the low minors against age-advanced competition. Has advanced feel for his age and has a solid chance to remain a starter. Has always thrown strikes and shows the early makings of a three-pitch mix, all with at least average potential. Does not stand out physically, but still young enough that he could grow some more. One of the more intriguing low minors arms in the system, but has a long way to go between what he is now and what he could be in the future.

Photo Credit: Aldo Ramirez by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.

 
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