It was understood the Rays were taking a flyer on Erasmo Ramirez when they dealt for him very late in March. That said, his ineffectiveness has been rather extreme and he is rather aware of it and what might be causing it.
Ramirez had to change teams and states very late in Spring Training. Many pitchers are creatures of habit in that they value routine. Ramirez’s routine was disrupted not only by the change in geography, but also by an adjustment to his usage when he was used as a reliever early on. Last night was his first actual start of 2015, but the results did not improve.
Ramirez has faced 37 batters this season; 21 have reached base and 16 of them have scored. He has walked as many batters (6) as he has struck out. Ramirez told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune a couple of things are contributing to his struggles.
“Right now I don’t know,” he said. “My fastball runs in too much. It’s sinking (more) than it normally does.”
That comment is verified by the pitch f/x data via BrooksBaseball:
Ramirez said he can feel his left side fly open and his arm slot drop when throwing his fastball. That too is verified by the f/x data:
When a pitcher lowers his arm slot, his fastball tends to also get more horizontal run as compared to movement from a higher release point. That is also happening to Ramirez:
One sliver of positive news for Ramirez is that the whiff rate on his changeup has been strong as he has a 25% whiff rate on the pitch creating 12 whiffs on 48 changeups. The larger issue is he has created just 3 whiffs on the other 92 pitches he has thrown.
The fact that he is out of options coupled with the amount of pitchers the team has on the disabled list is what still has him on the roster. The effectiveness of his changeup is neutralized by his complete lack of fastball command. With Drew Smyly and Alex Colome on their way back, Ramirez is running out of time to work things out.