What started as a way to bring you up to speed with former Indians Ryan Church and Ryan Ludwick has turned into quite the feature over here at WFNY. But some of you may be saying, “Who the heck is Max Ramirez?”
Max, whose full first name is Maximiliano, is a 23-year old catcher that resides in the farm system for the Texas Rangers. He was a Dominican League All-Star third baseman in 2003, Appalachain League All-Star as a catcher in 2005, and Carolina League All-Star again as a catcher in 2007.
In Double-A ball, Ramirez is hitting .360/.451/.650 (1.101 OPS) with 17 home runs and 50 RBI.
Oh, and he’s the guy we traded away last July for three-months of Kenny Lofton.
A horse of a different color, eh? Through five minor league seasons, Ramirez has hit at a clip of .314/.414/.518 – numbers that translate well no matter how hard you try to tweak splits. An injury to catcher Gerald Laird has prompted the Rangers to call up the youngster, allowing him to completely skip the Triple-A level. And to no surprise, Rangers fans couldn’t be more excited.
It won’t be until Friday that most of us will get the chance to see Ramirez wearing Rangers white, but for the next five games we have the chance — along with Kenny Lofton — to grab a couch, tune in, and watch the big league career of one of the most exciting hitters in the minor leagues get underway.
Nice mention of the currently unemployed Lofton there. And while we also have an injured catcher in Victor Martinez, we’ve since called up a guy that has played 14 seasons in the minor leagues and had a batting average of .159 at the Triple-A level. He’s since been released, as we traded for Sal Fasano – another journeyman catcher who was the second-oldest player in Triple-A.
While Ramirez may be developing a lot faster than some anticipated, the fact of the matter is that this is another young player that is currently producing. The fact that we traded him away for three months of Kenny Lofton in left field makes matters that much worse. Look, I like Lofton just as much as the next guy. However, you can’t let nostalgia step in the way of reality. Sure, he had a solid post season, was a vocal leader and got a few more people in the stands that could dust off their 10-year old #7 t-shirt. But fact of the matter is that he isn’t the same Lofton that patrolled center field in the 90s, and we lost a guy that could have been a key part of this organization once Victor Martinez made the inevitable move to first base.
As a fan of this team, I hope I’m wrong here. Perhaps Chris Gimenez is the long-term answer and this will all be forgotten. Gimenez was hitting .318 with a solid OBP for Double-A Akron before his recent call-up to Triple-A. He’s struggling to gain some traction for Buffalo, but has excellent potential from a contact perspective as well as power. But for the 23-year Ramirez old to already get the nod in the bigs, you can understand my frustration. You can bet I’ll be watching his progress.
(Interstate high five to reader Frank for the tip)
Absolute Max. [Newberg Report]