Years ago I came across the name Moises Ramirez and clicked on the bio. The Orioles system started towards a full rebuild somewhere in 2018 and it included signing a 16-year-old 3rd baseman from San Pedro De Macoris in the Dominican Republic during that year’s international signing period. Predating the transition into Mike Elias by a few weeks, Ramirez’s 1st assignment was the Dominican Summer League where he split time with each Orioles squad.
Growing Up in Baseball
But even before becoming a pro, baseball has been a huge part of his life and upbringing. For lots of young men in the Dominican, it’s more than just culture so I had to ask what it meant to be brought up in the sport.
“It’s been great growing up in Dominican baseball, next to a lot of future stars who are developing their talents just like me. Baseball is everything for me, it’s a passion that runs through my veins."
His introduction to the pros included about 60 games over the course of June, July and August that year, measuring himself against his peers and figuring out where he’d fit in. Professional baseball is a unique career in itself and a this was a highly competitive environment to get started in.
“It’s been very special to wish for something from a very young age and be able to accomplish it so soon is important and makes me very proud of it."
A Team Leader
23 hits with runners in scoring position helped the teen to a .284 average and 26 RBI in those situations laying the earliest foundation as a run producer. This included 6 extra-base hits and his 1st pro Home Run. Ramirez stole a couple of bases, struck out more than he walked, and began his journey upwards.
But there are some vital lessons to be learned in this first stage of the climb. I asked Moises what was the most important thing that’ll stick with him and his answer was perfect.
“To play more as a team, help out my teammates to work out as a team as much as possible to help us keep moving forward"
A Close Look
Watching from a close perspective, there were elements of leadership displayed by the youngster on an underachieving Orioles Orange roster this past season. It’s probable that a team-first mentality is what drives him. Playing for himself isn’t his style.
“This year was hard but I always focused on my team 100%, But I always try to give the best of me and stick out for my team and do whatever it took to keep moving ahead."
Covid interrupted the sport in 2020 but when I started watching Moises this past summer he somehow knew lots of other players and coaches and was as outgoing and talkative a guy as could be. The stadium is quiet and the louder voices stand out, so Ramirez holding court at 3rd base was some time I got used to.
“I’m the same person on and off the field, I like to socialize and make the guys smile and share good times but above all stay humble"
The Future Offense
Currently, the Orioles are in hitting camp where the offense fine-tunes their swings and skills at the plate. It’s closed off to the public so curiosity abounds at what exactly happens behind the scenes. Ramirez, ever the slugger answers as passionately as I’d expect.
“During training camp, we focus on the weakest parts of our game. If there are problems facing curves then we will practice it till we are able to get the timing for it, be able to see all the variables it could show. Batting is an art and it’s a fundamental part of the game which requires you to be 100% focused to be able to swing and make adjustments just like it would be the last swing in your life."
While it’s Moisés’ job to play and improve, it’s mine to make unreasonable expectations and comparisons. Seeing a powerful and athletic third baseman with a level yet powerful right-handed stroke reminds me of one player, young Miguel Cabrera. When word of that comp got to Ramirez, he played it as easily as a ground ball.
“I could see myself having as good or even a better career, no one knows. The main thing would be to keep working every to become a future Big Leaguer that"s in me."
Praise for Teammates
So his skills are present and improvement is expected, but where does Moises fit in the Orioles system as the rebuild moves towards games that’ll count? There are a ton of outstanding young players on the farm and more to come with the team holding the 1st overall pick in June’s amateur draft. This camp is where he met some of the stars of the system and wouldn’t you know, there was a guy playing next to him that made an impression…
“Fans should start paying attention to Henderson and a few other ones who are doing an excellent job and working every day to give their best."
Henderson is Gunnar, a rising SS prospect among many others testing the fences at camp in Florida. Gunnar started off in the rookie leagues in 2019 and shot through the system this past season. A similar trajectory could be in the cards for Moises. In 2022, he wants to keep going upwards and stay on the field.
“This 2022 I expect the best with God’s help, I’m letting him guide my life and take control of my career and let everything happen as he wishes. I’m only asking for health, the rest I will take care of it and the best is yet to come."
What He Loves
Watching the young guy at the plate, his skills are varied and he can make adjustments in-count really well. Also taking lessons from the cage he shows a veteran’s smarts. I wondered though, what’s his ideal pitch and situation to pounce on?
“My favorite pitch is the fastball, on a 2 -0 count it has to come down the middle and I love to see those and hit a home run"
And if he’d rather be making a diving stop or hitting a game-winner out of the yard, he’s leaning offense but acknowledging the glove half of the game.
“It would be a great feeling to hit a game-winning home run, probably the best feeling in the world. But it would also be great to end the game on a defensive play and be the hero of the team and be appreciated for your effort."
Fortunately for me, I got to see some of both. I also saw some pitches that befuddled the growing hitter. Most of them breaking balls, but it’s good to have things to work on down here. That’s what a practice environment is for.
“This year the pitches were not too bad, some curves that could not recognize and not too good but I’m working on it."
Most of the pitchers that dominated the rookie league were Rays. Tampa featured outstanding starters and a very solid, fundamentally sound rookie squad. Moises got to play against them and knows where they stand in the AL East. I was curious as to what he sees when he contrasts us vs them. More music to the ears of O’s supporters.
“Yes, they are a good team, with great players and coaches. But the Orioles are a better all-around team, players, coaches, trainers, everything is better.
I like it.
Student of the Game
He is a fan of the game and we’ve talked about situations, history, and superstars. My guy follows the sport like a fan and always has. We all have our favorite players and he is a cross-section of baseball royalty.
“Right now Fernando Tatis jr, Vladimir Guerrero, and Manny Machado. They all leave everything on the field and have the courage to move forward."
We have every reason to wonder if one day he’ll be mentioned among some of those luminaries. It’ll be fun to track his rise as he moves forward. I’ve met his family at a couple of games and know that his support system is as strong as his throwing arm. There are a lot of people both proud and pulling for Ramirez. The more people watch and know his game, the number will grow. I’m very confident.
To his current and future fan club, the outgoing and always smiling Moises has a message:
“I would like the fans to follow me, I want to feel them and let them know that I’m here for them. I love to spend time with my family and friends exploring new places. Be out and relax and enjoy life. Follow me, Moises Ramirez is coming with all the blessings from God."
As someone who has met and interacted with him often, I can wrap this up by saying he’s a great guy and an outstanding player. He’s indicative of the Orioles" new approach towards quality people and watching him play is going to make lots of fans happy. I can’t wait.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images