The longest-tenured pitcher on the staff other than Smoltz, even though he isn’t any good. Last season, his ERA (4.63) finally matched his 2003-04 peripherals, only to see his peripherals get even worse. His strikeout rate was the worst in the National League (3.56/9IP — next worst was 4.35) and he allowed 31 homers (sixth in the NL). His control improved a little, probably because his breaking stuff was so bad it all stayed in the strike zone. For whatever reason — a loss in velocity, or loss of his best breaking stuff — he was utterly unable at times to finish off hitters. But when behind in the count, he was truly awful. After getting up in the count 1-0, the average National League hitter hit .334/.421/.525. In other words, if Ramirez doesn’t get the first pitch over the hitter hit like Todd Helton.
Is there anything good to report? Well, pitchers usually have trouble their first season back from an injury. But this was a mysterious injury, one never diagnosed to my satisfaction, so I’m not certain it’s actually gone or ever will go away until they know what it was. He did hit well, .219/.230/.260.
The Braves don’t have an established lefthanded starter other than Ramirez, so they’re likely to stick with him. I’m not wild about this. I agree that it would be nice to have a lefthander in the rotation, but if Sosa and Davies outpitch him it would be foolish to stick them in the pen while he buries the team in the early innings. But he was terrible when tried out as a long reliever as well. Lefties didn’t murder him like righties, but a .267/.316/.372 line is not exactly great for a LOOGY.