Baseball America profiles four prospects who have shown particularly well in winter ball, among them MaxRam.
Max Ramirez, c, Rangers: Since he was a teenager, Ramirez has always stood out among his peers at the plate. Ramirez followed up an outstanding minor league season by leading the Venezuela League with 15 home runs and ranking second in slugging, finishing with a .291/.391/.618 line in 220 plate appearances. Ramirez has 65 power on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he’s a bit of a different animal from Sandoval offensively, as evidenced by Ramirez’s 57 strikeouts this winter.
"His swing is different from Sandoval’s," said one scout. "Sandoval is short to the ball and can hit the ball out of the park anywhere because of his ability to use his hands. Ramirez is more of a pull-oriented hitter—not a dead pull hitter—but his swing is longer. He could hit 25-30 homers in the majors, but he’s more vulnerable against changeups and curveballs. Sandoval’s swing can adjust better to offspeed stuff because he’s short and compact and stays back a little bit longer."
Like Sandoval, Ramirez will also have to monitor his conditioning to stay behind the plate. Even after trading Gerald Laird, the Rangers still have to sort out their catching situation between Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Ramirez. The general scouting consensus from those who watched Ramirez during the minor league season was that he might eventually have to move off the position, but at least one scout who saw Ramirez in Venezuela said that Ramirez has the potential to catch in the big leagues.
"That guy is going to be a major league everyday catcher," the scout continued. "He still needs to improve his catching and throwing, but he’s still young. He can catch, he can block—you can see him getting better. But this kid can hit in the major leagues."