Harold Ramirez came out of nowhere in 2019 to put together a solid rookie campaign.
Ramirez is a five-foot-10, 220 lb. right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from Cartagena, Columbia. Born on September 6th, 1994, he was first signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in July 2011, and made his professional debut for them in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2012.
Ramirez played in the Pirates system for five seasons, peaking at the Double-A level with the Altoona Curve in the Eastern League in 2016. At the trade deadline that year, the Bucs sent him with Reese McGuire and Francisco Liriano to the Toronto Blue Jays for Drew Hutchinson.
For the remainder of 2016, along with the entirety of the following two seasons, Ramirez remained at the Double-A level with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. In 2018, he hit .320/.365/.471 in 120 games for them, with 11 round-trippers and 70 RBI. He also stole 16 bases in 18 attempts. On November 2nd, following that season, he elected to pursue free agency, and the Miami Marlins signed him one month later.
Ramirez started last year with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and hit .355/.408/.591 in 31 games. With a batting line too good to ignore, the Miami Marlins selected his contract on May 8th, and watched as he made his major league debut on May 11th.
Ramirez appeared in 116 games for the Miami Marlins, starting 100 of them with several appearances in each outfield position. The team was 43-57 when he started, versus just 14-48 when he didn’t. Correlation or causation? Unlikely, but at the very least he proved a good luck charm if nothing else.
But they say good players make their own luck, and Ramirez did just that with the bat. He had 28 multi-hit games, including 10 three-hit affairs through the campaign. On August 1st, in a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins, Ramirez hit an RBI-triple in the second to tie the game at one, then in the bottom of the 12th hit a leadoff walk-off home run. His resultant 0.449 WPA in the game was his most impactful performance of the season.
In total, Ramirez hit .276/.312/.416 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. He only walked 18 times in 446 plate appearances for a walk-rate of just 4.04 percent, but also struck out 91 times for a passable 20.45 whiff-rate.
Thus far this spring training, Ramirez has gone three-for-22 with a pair of solo home runs. Baseball reference has him projected to hit .271 with 13 home runs this year, and Ramirez knows his way around a bat. In the field, however, he’s been consistently below average at all three positions, with his best in left field, where he scored at minus-3 DRS above average.
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Left field is where the Miami Marlins have mostly employed Ramirez to date. Despite the negatively-charged advanced metrics, Ramirez only made one error in 919 1/3 innings in the outfield, out of 253 overall chances for a .996 fPct.
Can Ramirez follow a promising rookie-campaign with a solid sophomore effort? He should be able to, if the Miami Marlins see fit to retain him with the big boys out of camp here. There’s been a lot of talent on display through the spring, and some of the bigger-named prospects seem to be ready to go — mostly Monte Harrison.