HAROLD RAMIREZ – OF
When the Jays traded pitcher Drew Hutchison to the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, they acquired a solid lefty who would help them down in the stretch in Francisco Liriano. However, the Jays weren’t just going to give up on a young arm in Hutchison for an aging vet in Liriano. In order for the Jays to pull the trigger, they needed something else. Insert Harold Ramirez.
Much like Tellez’ situation, Ramirez benefits from having a spot up for grabs at his position. It is no secret that the Jays lack a consistent, everyday left fielder. Currently, it looks as if Upton Jr. and Carrera will platoon in left field, which is not ideal for a team that is looking to contend. Some may also consider Dalton Pompey for that left fielder role, which is a fair statement. However, Pompey still needs to prove himself as an everyday left fielder. Whether he can do so remains to be seen.
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If Pompey does not prove himself worthy of the left fielder spot, Ramirez could be a good player to keep your eyes on to replace him. If Ramirez can continue to hit at a .306 pace, the Jays would be crazy not to give him a chance in left field come midseason.
Another factor that Blue Jays fans can’t forget is that while Jose Bautista takes great care of his body, he is also going to be 37 this year. There is a reason nobody gave him the long-term contract he wanted – teams question how much longer he can play at an elite level. When healthy, Bautista is a bat-flipping stud. However, as you get older, injuries start to become tougher to shake, and the grind of a 162 game season can take a toll on a player’s body. While it is impossible to predict an injury, it is good to know there is organizational depth in the system with Ramirez.
While Ramirez will more than likely not be on the opening day roster, he is definitely a prospect to follow closely. If Pompey stumbles and Ramirez continues to eat minor league pitching for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can bet you will find Ramirez playing for Toronto at some point later in the season.