Rays Sign Ramon Ramirez; Promote C.J. Riefenhauser | The Process Report

Rays Sign Ramon Ramirez; Promote C.J. Riefenhauser

Injuries and promotions caused the Rays to make a flurry of moves to restock the roster of the Durham Bulls. The latest round of transactions includes the signings of outfielder Evan Frey and right-handed relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez. Left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser was promoted to Durham while right-hander Juan Sandoval, a spring training success story, was sent down to Montgomery. Will Inman, another righty reliever, was released.

Frey’s signing was a necessity after the promotion of Wil Myers and season-ending injury to Rich Thompson left the Bulls scare on outfielders. The 27-year-old spent his entire career in the Diamondbacks organization before joining the Rays. The small, left-handed batter’s game is built off speed and a good definition of the strike zone. He was once named the best defensive outfielder in Arizona’s system.

Riefenhauser was Tampa Bay’s 20th round pitch in the 2010 draft. Initially a starter, the lefty converted to the bullpen last season and has moved quickly through the system as a reliever. His stuff is mostly average, but he showed improved control upon the change in role. Right now, he ceiling is that of second lefty in the bullpen with an emphasis on left-handed batters.

Ramirez has pitched in the big leagues for eight straight season – including 2013 – for five different organizations. His biggest contribution came as a member of the Giants’ championship bullpen in late 2010. He stuck around San Francisco in 2011 where his primary focus was right-handed batters. The 31-year-old has a low-90s fastball and a pair of secondary options that have the ability to miss bats.

Both thrown in the mid-to-upper 80s, Ramirez has a changeup with arm-side action that he throws primarily to left-handed batters and a slider that sweeps to his glove-side and away from right-handers. Spotty fastball command versus lefties has left him with a bit of platoon split, although not quite Dan Wheeler-esque. In terms of organizational pecking order, he falls somewhere behind Josh Lueke, but likely ahead of Cory Wade where he is perhaps even or slightly below Kirby Yates.

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