Where did Ramon Ramirez come from?

Rockies win consecutive games for the first time since April 7-11 (though, to be fair, they hadn’t lost consecutive games, either, since April 16-17.)  Brad Hawpe homered, his seventh of the year.  (For those who care, he’s on pace to hit 49.  But, of course, he’s just off to a hot start.)  Jeff Francis pitched well but was saddled with a no decision after Brian Fuentes blew his first save of the year.  Luckily for the Rockies, the Marlins only tied it and couldn’t take the lead, and they won on Clint Barmes’s RBI single in the tenth.  The rest of the bullpen, though, was solid.

Speaking of the bullpen, the mystery of Ramon Ramirez continues.  His line on the season thus far: 9.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K.  He’s got an ERA of 0.00 and opponents are hitting .094 against him.  Why is this a surprise?  Well, because virtually nobody expected this from him.  This is a guy who wasn’t even considered a top prospect in the weak Yankee organization, and came over in the Shawn Chacon trade last season.  He was ranked somewhere in the 20s on the Rockies’ prospect list entering the season.

But, a look at his minor league stats paints a different picture.  For his minor league career, he averaged 8.33 K/9 and just 3.32 BB/9.  Nothing spectacular, but it shows a guy who might have been able to be a major league contributor.  Now, he wasn’t too good in three trials at Triple-A, but then that was before this season.

Is this believable?  Well, him being a decent major league pitcher is believable, though obviously he’s going to give up a run every once in a while.  But the thing that I definitely like about the Rockies’ Gen-R plan is that guys like Ramirez and Ryan Spilborghs get a fair shake.  Were Ramirez still with the Yankees, he’d probably be doing this at triple-A right now.  (Then again, if not for various injuries in the bullpen, Ramirez would probably be playing for the Sky Sox.)  Spilborghs still hasn’t started a game this season, but at least he’s with the team.  Spilborghs isn’t a big "tools" guy, and Ramirez is just 5’11".  Guys like these often get overlooked.  The benefit to committing to your minor league system, as the Rockies have, is that you can find the hidden gems.  Heck, a lot of teams would think up excuses to bury guys like Brad Hawpe and Garrett Atkins in the minors.

Good win tonight for the Rockies.  Fogg vs. Vargas tomorrow.



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