Thursday, June 29, 2006

Prospect Profile: Max Ramirez

Name: Maximiliano Ramirez
Age: 21
Pos: C
Height: 5-11
Weight: 175
Bats: R
Throws: R

Max was signed by the Braves as an undrafted free agent in 2002 out of Venezuela. He spent 2003 playing ball outside of the United States before he joined the GCL Braves in 2004. He played pretty well but not great in 2004 in the Gulf Coast League. He hit .275/.339/.480 with 19 walks and 50 strikeouts. The best part of his game was his 8 home runs. But he really didn't show much else. He really wasn't on any radars until 2005 when he was promoted to Danville. He was the co-MVP of the Appalachian League along with teammate Eric Campbell as he hit .347/.424/.527. Max really improved his plate discipline as he walked 31 times against 41 strikeouts. Ramirez had great numbers but was still relatively unknown as Eric Campbell was generating most of the publicity as the heir apparent to Chipper Jones.

Max Ramirez as promoted to Rome in 2006 and picked up right where he left off. Max's fast start lead him to be selected as the starting catcher for the 2006 South Atlantic League all-star game. Ramirez was read hot in April and May with a batting average well over .300. However, he has really cooled down a lot in June and his batting average has dipped to .278. He has probably hit the wall in his first full professional season. In 2004 and 2005, Max never surpassed 239 at-bats. I have a feeling he will get a second wind this season and break out of his current slump. His overall numbers are pretty good as he is hitting .278/.393/.439. I really like the fact that Max can get on base without hitting as he has drawn 42 walks in 230 at-bats.

Max's future position is still somewhat in the air. He has played catcher the last couple of seasons but has spent much of 2006 as a DH. He has had previous experience in the infield and could turn out to be a third baseman. At 5-11 he is too short to be a first baseman. I think he'll continue to be a catcher known for his offense and not for his defense. His offense is why he is a top prospect. I think Max projects as a very good hitter in the major leagues and possibly a .300 hitter. His plate discipline is what sets him apart from most other Braves prospects. He should also develop decent 15-20 home run pop as well. With many fine catchers in the Braves organization, his position is still up in the air but no one questions his bat.

2004 GCL 57 204 56 20 16 1 8 35 19 50 1 0 .275 .339 .480
2005 DAN 63 239 83 45 19 0 8 47 31 41 1 2 .347 .424 .527
2006 ROM 67 230 64 42 16 0 7 30 42 64 2 0 .278 .393 .439

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