Who Is American Association’s Top Pitcher? Candidate 5: Luis Ramirez, Winnipeg Goldeyes
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier continues his look at the top pitchers in the American Association this season and who will likely be named as the Pitcher of the Year. Today, He looks at the final candidate, Winnipeg Goldeyes right-hander Luis Ramirez.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
One part of sports that writers and broadcasters focus on is the finish. The quarterback who has the most fourth-quarter comebacks becomes a legend. The player who hits .400 over the final month of the season is heralded as a true great in the sport.
What is ignored is the first three quarters of the game, the first half of the season, or the first 15 starts. The media hype someone closing out the contests or season in style, believing that this makes them a true legend. The truth is that the team would not need a great comeback or second half surge if someone stepped up in the early part of the season or the contest to drive the team toward victories. That deserves significant credit as well, and is why Winnipeg Goldeyes right-hander Luis Ramirez should be considered among the top pitchers in the American Association.
Luis Ramirez Carried Winnipeg Goldeyes
The Winnipeg Goldeyes enter Saturday’s play in third place in the West Division, with a magic number set at two to clinch a playoff spot. The club struggled in the first month and has played below .500 in August, but June and July were spectacular months, with the club going 17-9 in each month. Not surprisingly, those were the best two months of the season for Luis Ramirez.
Ramirez is tied for the team league in victories with 10. He was the first to reach that mark, going 10-3 through his first 13 decisions, but stands at 10-5 entering Saturday’s play, as he has been denied his league-leading 11th victory in each of his last three starts. The right-hander is second in strikeouts (125), tied for first in games started (19), and tied for third in innings pitched (114).
Ramirez got off to a tough start, going 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA in his first three starts, all in May. The righty allowed 24 hits and six walks in his first 14.0 innings. The Goldeyes went 6-10 that month.
However, things turned around quickly for the right-hander, who went 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in June, earning the Pitcher of the Month honors. It was like a light switch turned on for Ramirez, as he allowed just 24 hits and 10 walks in 37.1 innings, striking out 43. He posted five consecutive victories, and the only game his team lost in the month was one where Ramirez allowed one run in six innings, but the bullpen could not hold the lead.
In July, the Goldeyes ace was 3-2, posting a 3.74 ERA in five starts. In 33.2 innings pitched, he allowed 28 hits and six walks while striking out 33. Ramirez started out August well, going 2-0 through his first two decisions, allowing five earned runs in 14.1 innings while striking out 19. However, he has struggled over his last three starts, giving up 14 earned runs in 14.1 innings pitched.
The tough start can be ignored. However, it may be these last three starts that deny him the American Association Pitcher of the Year award. That is a shame, because there was a stretch where 11 of his 13 starts were quality ones, and nine of his 19 starts have seen the right-hander give up two or fewer runs, including five of six where he allowed one run or fewer. If one removes the first three games of the season and his last three starts, Ramirez has posted a 2.85 ERA. However, the club is trying to lock down a playoff spot and the right-hander has not been as effective when the games seem to matter the most.
However, one must consider the entire body of work. Ramirez may not when the award, but he deserves serious consideration. One should also consider that without his performance Winnipeg would likely be right at .500. Most of the rest of the staff has not been very good, with Landen Bourassa the only other starter with an ERA under five (3.98). He has been the one starter this team has been able to rely on, garnering some support as the Pitcher of the Year.
By Robert Pannier