Grading the 2017 LA Angels: Noe Ramirez
The LA Angels and general manager Billy Eppler have been great at finding under-the-radar talents and developing them into valuable role players. A great example of this in 2017 was the late addition of Noe Ramirez.
Before the LA Angels claimed Noe Ramirez off waivers, he was merely an afterthought. Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2011, Ramirez was a Southern California local. He pitched for California State University Fullerton, where he impressed scouts enough to be a fourth round pick.
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However, Ramirez was never quite able to make an impact in Boston. In 31 career games before 2017, Ramirez had a 5.19 ERA while allowing seven home runs and 15 walks in 26 innings. However, Ramirez had major strikeout ability, totaling 28 in those games.
In 2017, it was more of the same. In 4.2 innings, Ramirez allowed two big flies and a walk while striking out four batters. After the Red Sox designated him for assignment, Eppler took a chance on the 27-year-old, and sure looks smart for doing so.
Ramirez only made ten appearances for the Halos. However, he was an entirely new pitcher in Anaheim. Ramirez allowed no home runs while pitching for the Angels, and struck out ten batters in his 8.1 innings. He still walked four batters, but showed major improvements in terms of control.
His most notable improvement, and what made him so successful this year, was his hits allowed per nine innings. His career average 10 before this season, but he allowed only 3.2 per nine in Anaheim.
Ramirez is under club control for the foreseeable future. At just 27, he has the chance to be a major part of the Angels bullpen as the team aims to make a playoff run in 2018 and beyond. Players like Ramirez are the type of guys who go unnoticed, but help teams keep leads late in games. His strikeout ability makes him a great pitcher to come in when there are runners in scoring position.
Next: Can Kole Calhoun Rebound After Poor 2017?
2017 Grade: A-
Ramirez was an absolute stud this season as soon as he arrived in Anaheim. What keeps his grade from being an A+ is that he still walked batters at a poor rate. He also had a small sample size. If he is able to do this over the course of an entire season in 2018, he would not only deserve an A+, but become one of the best relievers on the Halos roster.