Horacio Ramirez

I’ve thought about writing one of my Paul Byrd pronouncements — “Horacio Ramirez isn’t going to pitch this year and may never again”. Ramirez put up a 2.39 ERA last season (2.28 when he got hurt, plus one really bad inning at the end of the season) despite statistics that simply can’t carry that. He struck out only 31 in 60 1/3 innings and walked 30. Unless you’re an extreme ground-ball pitcher that won’t work, and Ramirez isn’t. I don’t know how he did it, and I haven’t a whole of faith in his ability to do it again. Frankly, I wasn’t sure he’d be able to repeat his 2003, when he was slightly above-average.

Plus he’s hurt, and they don’t know why. He was on the shelf for most of the second half with “tendinitis”, which as you know means exactly that, “It hurts and we don’t know why”. He had his shoulder scoped in the offseason to remove some fraying of the rotator cuff, but it’s not certain that was the problem. They don’t know whether he’ll be ready to start the season. He says he’s confident he’ll be ready, but he spent two months last season saying he was one rehab start away from coming back and never really made it.

Horacio Ramirez Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

22 thoughts on “Horacio Ramirez”

  1. I say trade him while the trading is good. We have four good starters, and can pick up another project, or bring in davies. I am still hoping we can send him away for some outfield help. I think he will break down after may again this year, and will be spent.

  2. Maybe if we get really, really lucky, Horacio will look great in spring training, Griffey Jr and Wily Mo Pena both get off to hot starts, and we can flip H-Dawg for Austin Kearns. Of course, we’ve been saying that for months, and it doesn’t seem any more likely now. The Reds are paying Paul Wilson and Eric Milton over $12 million combined next year, so they’ve gotta be dumb enough to do it, right?

  3. Frankly, I think at some point Ramirez is going to show you that your statistics aren’t the end all be all indicator of performance. At the very least, there’s still something lacking from it that you aren’t seeing. He can and probably will repeat his performance, barring any injury problems.

  4. I suppose it’s possible, I just don’t see how. It doesn’t make any sense that a guy can put up a 1:1 K/BB ratio and have an ERA in the low twos. Okay, he allowed a .226 BA, but I don’t see how he can do that either. It just screams “hit-lucky”. It’s not that Ramirez isn’t a useful commodity, it’s just that I doubt he’s that good.

    Use the alligator brackets, not the square ones.

  5. You could be right. But I just don’t think you can claim so with the certainty that it appears you have. It’s definitely desirable that he lowers his walk numbers.

  6. The same questions regarding Ramirez’ success can be asked of Mike Hampton. Or Tom Glavine for that matter. None of the three have anything overpowering. They just manage to get people out. How? I’m not really sure.

    I do know one thing…..people who are smart and disciplined enough to take the off speed pitchers (TG) the other way, instead of swinging at the off speed stuff from their heels, seem to be much more effective. I remember Phil Niekro saying that he would prefer to face a free swinging power hitter as opposed to a slap hitter who would just as soon take it the other way.

  7. Grst, let’s try these terms then. Since 1990, there have been only 6 pitchers to post a season ERA under 4 with a K/BB ratio of less than 1.2 and at least 150 IP. They are:
    nameFirst nameLast yearID ERA
    Jose DeJesus 1991 3.42
    Tom Glavine 2001 3.57
    Bob Ojeda 1992 3.63
    Darryl Kile 1991 3.69
    Charlie Hough 1992 3.93
    Kirk Rueter 2000 3.96

    So in the very best case scenario, if Horacio doesn’t improve his k/bb ratio, his ERA has a shot at dipping below 4. He doesn’t have Glavine’s makeup or his 1990s strike zone to rely on, so expecting a similar career would be naive. There is simply no way to explain his 2004 season other than an extremely lucky one (at least in terms of ERA).

  8. Let’s look at those pitchers…

    DeJesus missed the next two seasons, pitched briefly in 1994, then disappeared.

    Glavine was excellent in 2002, 18-11/2.96. He also increased his strikeouts and decreased his walks slightly. Then he went to the Mets and has been mediocre. Generally, Glavine’s best seasons have been when he’s had a good strikeout rate.

    Ojeda pitched 43 innings the next season, 3 the one after that, and retired.

    Kile’s ERA the next season was 3.95 — mind you, in the Astrodome before the Rockies entered the league. He was better in 1993, then fell apart and didn’t establish himself as a quality pitcher until 1997.

    Hough was 44 years old and pitched for two more seasons, soaking up innings for the Marlins. His ERA was actually worse than the league if you adjust for the park — Comiskey was a terrible place to hit then.

    I’ve mentioned Rueter as a comp for Ramirez in the past. He had a 4.42 ERA the next season, was good the year after that, and now is nothing more than staff filler.

    Basically, there’s not much promise here. The best hope might be Kile (hopefully avoiding signing with the Rockies and the untimely death). But Kile had three bad seasons before figuring it out.

    What annoys me about Horacio is that he clearly has good stuff, probably better than Glavine’s at his peak, certainly better than Rueter’s. He should have more strikeouts. He just doesn’t. Sooner or later, that will catch up to him and he’s going to have to make an adjustment. I don’t know that Leo is the best coach for him.

  9. Well, you are a pessimist, Mac.

    He does have good stuff, but instead of thinking that he will learn to strike out batters, you think he will constantly have a K/BB of about 1. He’s a young pitcher, with good stuff, very good makeup, and he skipped triple-A. So I don’t have a problem with waiting for him to develop. Unless, of course, we can flip him for an outfielder.

  10. That’s a reasonable interpretation, BC. But I would have liked to see improvement in his rate stats from his rookie year to his sophomore campaign. A little glimmer of hope is that right before he went down he’d had a string of three games where he had 5 or 6 strikeouts, in two of which he walked just two. Then he had just one K in his last game…

    How’s this? Ramirez’s ERA is much better than his other stats, and it appears that he was hit-lucky. At the same time, his stuff is good enough that if he can harness his control he can emerge as a perennial quality starter. I just don’t know how long that will take.

  11. Live and die by the numbers Kyle, there’s still a game being played. Horacio’s strike zone is still maturing, very few pitchers come up and pitch their peak right away, thus it’s reasonable to assume his numbers will improve. If anyone is being naive, it’s you for thinking that a young pitcher with clearly good stuff isn’t going to get any better, especially when under the care of Leo. I don’t think he’s going to be posting sub-3 ERA’s, but all this talk of trading him for an average outfielder is ridiculous. You don’t piss away proven lefty pitchers like that, especially not ones following in the Glavine mold.

  12. Good work, Kyle. Between he injury and the other stuff, I think Horacio will have little impact this year. Make-up is what ladies put on in the restroom.

  13. I’m not sure why so many people focus solely on Ramirez’s 9 starts last season. His strikeout and walk numbers (while not great) were nowhere near as grim in 2003, and the statistical validity of placing so much weight on 9 starts is questionable. (In other words, of course his ERA from such a small sample size isn’t very meaningful – but his K and BB numbers from that same small sample are not that much more meaningful.)

    Braves’ management appears to view Ramirez as pitcher in the mold of a young Glavine. They prize his “makeup”. If anyone is entitled to judge pitchers on such fuzzy criteria, it is Cox & Mazzone.

    For what it’s worth…
    Tom Glavine’s 1st 2 seasons:
    245.7 IP, 104 SO, 96 BB

    Horacio Ramirez’s 1st 2 seasons:
    242.7 IP, 131 SO, 102 BB

    Of course, Glavine was younger (and less immediately successful) than Ramirez. Glavine was also healthy entering his 3rd season.

    In 1993, Glavine’s line was 239.3 IP, 120 SO, 90 BB – very similar to HoRam’s career numbers. Glavine had a 3.20 ERA, 22 wins, and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in 1993. So success with such numbers is certainly possible.

    That having been said, succeeding the “Glavine way” is very difficult, with little margin for error. Also, Glavine’s career K/BB ratio is closer to 1.75:1 than 1.3:1. For sustained success, Ramirez does need to cut his BB and HR rate at least a little, while hopefully also increasing his K rate.

    Pitchers can improve their K/BB ratio by large margins as they mature. In 1991 Kevin Brown had 210.7 IP, 96 SO, 90 BB as a 26-year old pitcher. His career K/BB ratio at that time was just 1.33:1 in over 600 innings (about the same as Ramirez). In 1992, Brown had a 3.32 ERA, 21 wins, and finished 6th in Cy Young voting. He’s gone on to post K/BB ratios as high as over 5:1, and he’s had just a little bit of success over the years. So dramatic improvement is certainly possible.

    Obviously, most young pitchers with a 1.3:1 K/BB ratio are not going to mature into a borderline hall of famer. But since what Cox and Mazzone seem to prize Ramirez for most is his intangible qualities, it seems premature to write Ramirez off completely based solely on his K/BB ratio.

    A 2.40 ERA is an unrealistic expectation for Ramirez at this point in his career, but it is very conceivable that he can continue to be a better than league average pitcher. It’s not implausible that he will mature into someone quite good. It’s also not implausible that he might never pitch as well again as he did in 2003-2004.

    Personally, I’m more concerned about his health than his effectiveness.

  14. Brown is actually on Ramirez’s comparable pitchers list. OTOH, so are a lot of guys who never did anything after their first time in the majors, like Chris Nabholz.

  15. Make-up is what ladies put on in the restroom.

    You better pray that Bill Shanks never reads that line, JC…

  16. Mac, the folks in the office next to mine now wonder what I’m doing that caused me to laugh out loud …

    Ahhh Bill Shanks: the single largest reason I stopped all those years of reading and posting at baseballboards / fanhome.

  17. To Mac Thomason, I may be a little late on the conversation, but I will say, Horacio is in MLB for of reason. He is where you, mostly likely, could only wish to be. So because you can only sit at home/work and write about him, don’t be bitter, just get better, write something positive for once about him and all the other players. And never say never, when it comes to him, because you will eat your words.

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