I got a chance to watch 21 year old Nicaraguan Erasmo Ramirez pitch a few innings against the Texas Rangers on Monday night, courtesy of MLB TV. After Mariners starting pitcher Hector Noesi got chased out of the game in the 4th inning, Seattle put Ramirez in for long relief. Noesi had left the game with two runners on (who subsequently scored), but Ramirez was able to limit the damage to only one more run over the course of 3 innings, and he also had 3 strikouts in his first MLB appearance.
What’s intriguing about Ramirez, aside from coming from a lineague of good pitchers out of Nicaragua like Dennis Martinez and Vicente Padilla, is that he actually played his formative years of baseball in El Salvador, is only 21 years old (will be 22 on May 2nd) and has already logged 73 starts in the minor leagues. His overall minor league record is 35-14 in 79 total appearances, with an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.12. Even more interesting is that he had 359 strikeouts to only 67 walks during that time period (4 seasons).
Ramirez is currently in the Mariners bullpen, but you might see him debut as a starter at some point this season, depending on injuries or trades. He should also have pretty good success in a pitchers park like Safeco Field. Plus, having a mentor like Felix Hernandez on the staff can’t hurt Ramirez’s development.