Ramirez early season struggles doesn’t bode well for the Mariners

Erasmo Ramirez has only made one start at the Major League level in 2018, he lasted 4.2 innings and gave up five hits and five runs while striking out and walking one batter each. It’s not just his on MLB appearance that’s cause for concern, it’s the numbers he put up during his rehab starts.

During his two starts in Triple-A Tacoma, Ramirez posted a shiny low ERA of 1.86, but his FIP was a concerning 4.17 with an xFIP sitting at 4.48 — his low ERA was aided by an insanely low BABIP of .207. It was also concerning to see his strikeout rate at a low 18.4%, typically the veteran starter hovers around 20-21%. Even tho he wasn’t walking too many batters, he wasn’t striking them out either and he heavily relied on his defense as a result — the good news is his walk rate was a ridiculously low 2.6% in 9.2 innings pitched with Tacoma.

Compare those numbers in Tacoma to his major league career average 4.24/4.41/4.21 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) and the batters hitting .277 on balls in play. He should have posted numbers that were consistently lower than that facing Triple-A players (which does include other major leaguers whom are rehabbing), instead his peripherals were around career average while he lucked himself into a low ERA.

We don’t have plate discipline information for his rehab starts with the Rainiers specifically, so it’s hard to know what his whiff rate was…but the low strikeout rate is extremely concerning.

If Ramirez performance consistently becomes a problem, the Mariners are faced with a lack of MLB ready starting pitchers in the minors that will cause problems. There’s Ariel Miranda, Andrew Moore, and the recently reacquired Roenis Elias (if they stretch him back out to being a starter)…but that’s really just about it. Seattle needs Ramirez to be a passable starter and stick more to his career norms, otherwise they’re going have a rough summer ahead.

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