The Road to The Show™: Mets' Ramirez
Each week, MiLB.com profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at fourth-ranked Mets prospect Alex Ramirez. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. The Mets haven’t typically been big spenders on the
Each week, MiLB.com profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken toward achieving his Major League dream. Here's a look at fourth-ranked Mets prospect Alex Ramirez. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.
The Mets haven’t typically been big spenders on the international amateur market. But in his first two professional seasons, Alex Ramirez has provided an impressive return on their most recent big splash.
The outfielder from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic inked a reported $2.1 million deal at the start of the 2019 international signing period. Now ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 96 overall prospect, he joins Francisco Álvarez and Ronny Mauricio as the only international prospects to ever sign with the Mets for a bonus of at least $2 million.
Since hitting the professional ranks, Ramirez has moved fairly quickly up the Minor League ladder. He climbed from Single-A St. Lucie to High-A Brooklyn as a teenager in his first full season in 2022. Ramirez batted .281 overall with a .782 OPS, 11 homers and 71 RBIs. He also led all Mets prospects with 140 total hits, 92 singles, 30 doubles and seven triples.
“I feel like the bigger the spotlight, the better the player. He really likes pressure. He likes expectations, and he likes being pushed,” Kevin Howard, the Mets' director of player development, told MiLB.com in November. “I think the more we saw him challenged, the more you saw him turn into a superstar.”
It’s been a good start to the professional career of a player who was ticketed as the club’s “center fielder of the future” when he signed four years ago. Ramirez is listed at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, about the same as his amateur days.
The confidence in Ramirez’s future stemmed from his athleticism. Prior to signing as a 16-year-old, Ramirez showed an ability to regularly make solid contact and pepper line drives to all fields. With his size and frame, there was an expectation that his power would continue to develop into an above-average tool. But his loudest tools, even as an amateur, were his speed, range and defensive skill set in center field even at an early age.
“What we liked about him was he was a young man who’s athletic,” former special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya told MLB.com in 2019. “He’s a lean-built outfielder. His body’s going to fill out really well. He’s a big kid, a lean, athletic looking kid who’s going to develop physically -- the type of ideal body that we like.”
Like every member of the 2019 international class, Ramirez had to wait out the pandemic to begin playing in professional games. When 2021 rolled around, the Mets were aggressive with Ramirez’s assignment, sending him to St. Lucie after a stint in extended Spring Training.
Beginning the season on June 1, Ramirez played 76 games and batted .258/.326/.384 with 24 extra-base hits, including five homers and four triples, while stealing 16 bases and scoring 41 times. His 31.1 percent strikeout rate and 6.9 percent walk rate showed a need to improve his approach at the plate, but overall it was an encouraging offensive season for an 18-year-old in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.
Ramirez hit the ground running in his return to St. Lucie in 2022. He batted .359 with a .944 OPS over the first 33 games with 51 total hits, including three homers, four triples and 10 doubles. He also reduced his strikeout rate to just 20.4 percent over that span. He was the FSL Player of the Week for May 3-8 after going 15-for-28 with five multi-hit games against Palm Beach.
He still wasn’t drawing many walks by the end of May but seemed to put an emphasis on looking for the free pass in June. From June 2 until his promotion to Brooklyn on July 3, his walk rate – which had hovered around 4 percent over the first two months of the season – rose to 18.1 percent. Although he proved to be a more disciplined hitter, complete with an on-base percentage approaching .400, he wasn’t having the same type of success at the plate, batting .225 over that 24-game span.
📽️ Outfield prospect Alex Ramírez takes a round of BP on the Mets back fields: pic.twitter.com/WxbTAGQaG5— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 18, 2023
He finished his FSL tenure with another Player of the Week honor, putting together a nice series with the bat against Jupiter at the start of July. From there, it took about two weeks for Ramirez to get the hang of the South Atlantic League.
The righty-swinging outfielder had just five hits in his first 37 at-bats at the High-A level. But he broke out right around the All-Star break, going 22-for-56 (.393) with 20 RBIs over a 14-game span beginning July 16. He hit his last two homers of the season in the same game against Winston-Salem on Aug. 4, then began to level out over the final two months of the year.
Ramirez finished the regular season with a .278 average and .756 OPS in Brooklyn. He collected three hits and scored three times in the first game of the SAL playoffs against Aberdeen, but the Cyclones eventually lost that semifinals series.
While the bat will help him climb, Ramirez still displayed his signature speed and athleticism in 2022, gliding from gap to gap to track fly balls. He got some work in the corner outfield spots, but mainly stayed in center.
His pitch recognition and plate discipline stand out as areas in need of improvement, but that should come with more playing time and natural maturation. He’s also likely to fill out a little more, get stronger and turn some of those doubles into homers.
Still just 20 years old, Ramirez earned his first invitation to big league camp this year. He’s not likely to crack The Show in 2023, but it will serve him and the organization well to see him put all five tools on display in the Grapefruit League.
Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for MiLB.com.