After-season honors are becoming an annual thing for Chicago Cubs prospect Pedro Ramirez. And he’s only 18.
Last year, Ramirez was the Cubs’ positional prospect of the year in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .359/.417/.503/155 wRC+ over 50 games. The switch-hitting second baseman had nearly as man extra-base hits as strikeouts, and it was probably an easy decision to have him over to stateside ball for his age 18 season.
This year, in the Arizona Complex League, Ramirez hit .329/.399/.541/153 wRC+ over 43 games, with particularly compelling peripherals (10.4% BB, 16.0% K, .212 ISO). It was enough to get him a late-season promotion to Low-A Myrtle Beach, AND to get him some postseason honors.
Baseball America announced its Complex League All-Stars, and Ramirez got the nod at second base. Note that the team was made up of players from ALL of the Arizona Complex League, the Florida Complex League, and the Dominican Summer League, so it’s a pretty significant honor to make the squad.
By the time Spring Training rolls around, I think we’re finally going to see Ramirez making some headway on Cubs prospect lists. There was understandable reticence to rank him very high after his performance in the DSL, but now that he’s done it in the states at such a young age, you have to give him some love. Which is not to say I’m not aware of the projection hurdles: Ramirez is on the smaller side, so you do question if the power is going to come along enough to prop up the rest of his production; Ramirez is primarily a second baseman (he also played a little third base this year), which limits his future value as compared to someone who could more plausibly handle shortstop.
Ramirez is likely to return to Myrtle Beach to open the 2023 season. He got in just 10 games there this season, hitting .268/.348/.268/85 wRC+.
That IFA class is looking like it could be a tremendous one for the Cubs. Cristian Hernández was the headliner and is the top prospect of the group, but if Pedro Ramirez is legit and if you buy Moises Ballesteros’s incredible bat this year*, that’s a pretty compelling trio of prospects from a single IFA class. From there, you’d still hope for some guys to pop (most are still just 18 or 19). Been a long time since the Cubs had a blowout IFA class, actually.
*(Ballesteros actually kinda got robbed on this All-Star list. The catcher who got the honor was Jorge Mendez, a 19-year-old who raked in the DSL. But Ballesteros, a year younger, was playing at a higher level and also had a great year at the plate (albeit not quite as strong as Mendez). I suppose it probably hurt Ballesteros that he got the early promotion to Low-A Myrtle Beach, where he played 31 of his 63 games this season. Held his own there, too, as an 18-year-old catcher: 248/.349/.394/109 wRC+. Wow, I really got sidetracked here.)