30 Players in 30 Days: Wilson Ramos

Wilson Ramos.JPGBuy low, sell high. That’s exactly what the Nationals did at the trade deadline when they turned a non-tendered, All-Star closer Matt Capps into one of the game’s top catching prospects–Wilson Ramos. The Twins solved a short term problem while the Nats could have their catcher of the future. Ramos went from learning from arguably the best catcher in the game today, Joe Mauer, to being mentored by the best catcher of the past 20 years and his childhood idol, Pudge Rodriguez. It isn’t a bad way to get prepared for the Majors.


“When I came here, I couldn’t believe it,” Ramos said. “Me and Pudge?”


He didn’t make it a secret either. On the first day with the Nationals, he told Pudge he was his favorite player. The two formed an immediate bond in September and the two talked about the intricacies of catching, calling a game, how to attack certain hitters and working with the pitchers.


“He’s special back there,” Jason Marquis said. “He’s definitely got a bright future. Real big target, real soft hands. He’s confident in what he’s doing back there. It makes you a little more confident on the mound. I enjoyed throwing to him.”


Ramos is a defensively sound, power-bat backstop and was the Twins best trade chip due to Mauer being entrenched behind the plate in Minneapolis. Ramos is regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects and entered 2010 rated as the Twins’ best power hitting prospect, best defensive catching prospect and No. 2 overall prospect according to industry insider Baseball America.


The 24-year-old batted .241 with 14 doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI in 71 games with Triple-A Rochester but he hit .316 with three home runs and eight RBI in 20 games with Triple-A Syracuse. Ramos debuted at the Double-A level last season and paced all Twins full-season farmhands in batting average (.317). He threw out 42 percent of would-be basestealers and was subsequently named the Eastern League’s No. 8 prospect.


The 6-foot-0, 220 pound Ramos is built like a linebacker and has legs like Secretariat. He made his Big League debut with Minnesota in May and went 4-for-5 and followed it up going 3-for-4 the next night. He will enter the spring as part of the Nats’ catching platoon with Rodriguez, much like how they rotated starts in September but he could become the No. 1 catcher.


“Ramos will come to Spring Training with an opportunity to be with Pudge,” Jim Riggleman said. “As the season would go, the hope would be that Ramos would get more and more playing time as the season goes next year and evolve into the No. 1 guy.”


Right now he is focused on playing winter ball in Venezuela for the Tigres de Aragua. He just started on Tuesday but he went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI in his debut.

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