Cleveland Indians Prospect Profile: James Ramsey

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The Cleveland Indians pulled off an unexpected move last July, acquiring 24-year-old outfielder James Ramsey in return for former All-Star Justin Masterson – despite being in postseason contention. 

Blocked by a deep set of outfield prospects in St. Louis, the Cardinals deemed Ramsey expendable and dealt him to the Tribe for what became a wasted one-year rental. A former first-round pick out of Florida State, Ramsey was hitting .300 in Springfield (AA) with 28 extra-base hits over 67 games. This after posting a .265 / .373 / .440 slash-line with 16 homeruns at three different levels in 2013. Had it not been for the Cardinals depth in the outfield, Ramsey would likely have already seen time in the major leagues.

Unfortunately for Ramsey, though, he joined another organization with a wealth of talent in the outfield.

Following the trade, Ramsey was sent to Columbus (AAA) to play alongside prospects Carlos Moncrief and Tyler Holt. There, the Tribe’s newest acquisition hit .284 over the final 28 games. He hit nine doubles and three homeruns over that stretch, but struck out 34 times (31 percent of at-bats).

While he has performed every place he has played, Ramsey’s role in the organization is clouded by the abundance of outfield prospects.  Ramsey is limited by an average arm and does not present the upside of some of the other outfielders coming up through the system. He is unlikely to see major league time ahead of Holt or Moncrief, and could very well be surpassed by Tyler Naquin in the coming months. 

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Similar to what MLB.com columnist Bernie Pleskoff wrote last year, then, it’s hard to wonder if the Indians might benefit from expanding Ramsey’s role. A former infielder, Ramsey may be able to provide some value to the organization as a super-utility player who could eventually fill the role of Mike Aviles or provide the versatility of Zach Walters. If he is strictly limited to the outfield, though, Ramsey may have a difficult time cracking the big league roster for any significant playing time anytime in the near future.

Multiple positions is quickly becoming a prerequisite to sit on Francona’s bench, so why not give it a shot?

Next: Prospect Profile: Tyler Naquin

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