(Courtesy of the AP)
He got sent down to MiL camp after yesterday's game, but no prospect made a bigger or better impression on the Yankee higher-ups this spring than Jose Ramirez. After a solid finish to his 2012 season in High-A, Ramirez got the invite to big league camp and didn't waste the opportunity. He was among the first pitchers to get into a game, he made two starts, and allowed 0 runs and just one BB in his 9.0 IP over three appearances, by far the most innings thrown of any Yankee pitcher to not allow a run this spring. He located his fastball down in the zone and flashed pretty good command of his changeup, something that isn't always said about young pitchers.
I left Ramirez off the AB4AR Top 30 for the second year in a row because of his spotty history with consistency and injuries, but also because the Yankees didn't seem sure how they wanted to use him. After this spring audition, there's no doubt that Ramirez should be molded as a starting pitcher and a potentially top-flight one at that. He's got great velocity, improving mechanics and command, and a really high upside if he continues to refine his changeup and makes his slider a useful third pitch. Without a lot of high-end pitching talent in the upper levels of the system, he can really make a name for himself with a strong season in Double-A and I've already got him marked as one of my big breakout candidates for 2013.