Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 Top Prospects: #6 – Harold Ramirez

The Pirates Prospects 2016 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2016 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get free and discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting the 2016 book for free, and Annual subscribers getting $10 off. Both levels of subscribers can also get the book for just $5. Details on all three promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.

While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Willy Garcia, RF
19. Clay Holmes, RHP
18. Mitch Keller, RHP
17. Max Moroff, 2B
16. Chad Kuhl, RHP
15. Cole Tucker, SS
14. Stephen Tarpley, LHP
13. Steven Brault, LHP
12. Yeudy Garcia, RHP
11. Kevin Newman, SS
10. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
9. Nick Kingham, RHP
8. Elias Diaz, C
7. Reese McGuire, C

We continue the countdown with the number 6 prospect, Harold Ramirez.

6. Harold Ramirez, OF

When the Pirates signed Ramirez in 2011, they gave him a seven figure deal, which was rare for them. The deal is the biggest amount paid to an international amateur hitter by the Pirates, and should remain that way for some time due to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. There were teams who weren’t sold on Ramirez at the time, thinking he didn’t have the power for a corner outfield spot. The Pirates liked the complete package enough to give him a big deal, figuring everything else would make up for the lack in power.

Ramirez has since gone on to open some eyes around baseball. He had a big season in 2013, and was named the top prospect in the NYPL. He had a hamstring injury and a shin injury in 2014, which limited his time in West Virginia, but he saw some decent results when he was healthy, including a hot stretch right before his season ending shin injury in July.

The Pirates pushed Ramirez up to Bradenton this year, and he responded with a huge season. He showed the ability to hit for average, put up some nice power numbers for a 20 year old in an extreme pitcher’s league, showed some speed on the bases, and saw an improvement with his arm in right field, removing the previous reports that he was below average in that category.

There were some health issues with Ramirez this year. He had a brief delay in Spring Training due to his conditioning, then missed a longer amount of time with a skin infection, which is the second time that has happened in his career. But once he was back on the field, he looked like a breakout prospect, and passed up fellow teammate Reese McGuire, while getting closer to Austin Meadows in value.

The Pirates added Ramirez to the 40-man roster this off-season, and will move him to Altoona next year. Because of their MLB outfield strength, they have no immediate need for him in the majors, so they can take their time with his development. He could also end up a trade chip due to Austin Meadows also playing at the same level. Ramirez projects as an above-average outfielder in the majors.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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In my opinion, he’s the best position player prospect in the system….even better than Meadows….Don’t get me wrong, I like Meadows a lot…I just think Ramirez will be better as a major leaguer….


If Meadows starts hitting more homers it won’t even be close. Ramirez could very well be a better major leaguer but based on tools and ceiling, Meadows is very much the better prospect with all star potential.

Luke S

If Meadows flashed increased power, say 15 HRs, next year i think some scouts might poop their pants and run to update the top 10 in their prospect list.


At least you’ve started including “in my opinion”…


Although I often include those exact words in my posts, I think most people would conclude that everyone posting here is posting their opinions….or are your posts strictly factually based?


Not strictly, but yes, absolutely my posts contain either as much factual info as possible or the opinions of folks who get paid to do this and are much, much smarter than me.

You’ll never see me state an opinion that is completely my own and unsupported by any evidence without saying as much, like you’ve done before with your Ramirez > Meadows hot take.


Really, I will keep that in mind as I read your entertaining posts. If I find what appears to be an exception to your stated rule of personal conduct, I will be sure to remind you.
You see, I have a brain and eyes of my own, so I am more than capable of formulating my own original thoughts and opinions. Now, I am not saying I am right all the time – far be it – and I have readily admitted when my opinions turned out be wrong (unlike many posters on this site). But, amazingly enough – I’m sure to you especially – I’ve been right a few times as well. I get lucky sometimes.
So, your comment will not slow me down in stating my opinions – sorry to disappoint you. However, in this case, I’m sorry that my stated opinion on Ramirez was so offensive to your sensibilities.


No no, you misunderstood…I *want* original thought. That’s why I enjoy conversing with you.

What I’m saying is that a lot of folks, myself included, use boards like this to learn. That obviously presents a challenge when you aren’t sure where the people making comments are getting their information. No offense, but saying Ramirez > Meadows means a whole lot more coming from someone with experience in the industry than it does form you or I. They’re still wrong a lot, but we’re wrong an awful lot more.

Arik Florimonte

Oh my God, do you even hear how arrogant you sound?


If “arrogance” has been bastardized into deference to someone else’s work that admittedly should be considered more important than my own menial thoughts, then sure, I have absolutely no problem with someone on the internet calling me “arrogant”.


I still see a lot of Jose Tabata in him. Quick swing, tweener power (he’s a corner OFer) and questionable conditioning.

I hope is not Tabata, Pt 2. Time will tell.


I have the same concern. He has a similar hitting profile at a similar age too.

John Dreker

The problem with the comparison is that Tabata was a disappointment because he didn’t continue to improve. It’s an easy one for Pirates’ fans to go to because it’s recent and familiar, but it doesn’t mean Ramirez or someone similar will fail. Tabata basically peaked when he was 21, leveled off and then quickly dropped. That isn’t a typical progression for a player.

The other thing with prospects is perception from people. Tabata has played 509 MLB games already and will probably get into more. A lot of top 100 prospects don’t have that type of “success”.

Ramirez was at the winter mini-camp two weeks ago and he looked like he was in the best shape of his life. Tim posted a video either on here or on instagram. He also tore up the Colombian winter league and lost the All-Star game HR derby by one, so while there was a lot to like before this winter, he’s done a lot in the last two months to make him look even better.

Blaine Huff

Has Tabata’s age ever been confirmed?

Serious question.

michael t

I think he was 11 years younger than the woman he married….and she was 34 at that time….


The conditioning issues worry me a lot more than his mysterious rash, but lord knows I didn’t exactly have my priorities straight at age 21 so here’s to hoping that he’s maturing and figuring that stuff out.


He’s in good shape this year


There’s nothing wrong with the comparison.

Assuming the same result as Tabata, yes, that’s incorrect, but the comparison *at similar ages* is accurate.

John Dreker

You’re not saying anything different than what I said. You just reworded it, so I agree


I also immediately think of Tabata. It is funny how you see a body type that is similar and immediately force the prospect into the mold. I’m sure scouts have to fight against that type of prejudice while also learning from the past.


It’s more than body type here, though.

Bill W

These skin infections could be traumatic depending why it is chronic for him. Hopefully they are staying on top of this health issue.


I too am concerned if this is a chronic problem that could plague him his entire career. Has their been any public medical explanation for this?


I was worried he was getting them at Pirate City. I remember reports a few years back of a football field or practice facility owned by the Clevelabd Browns (I think) having a suspected bacteria – and a lot of players were getting infections. I don’t recall other Pirate prospects dealing with this though…

michael t

Hockey players were plagued with a similar problem for decades, and it ended careers. Somehow they put an end to but the suspicion was the equipment harbored the problem.

Thomas F

Ive been gushing over HRam for 3 years now. His tool profile well for this park and team. If traded one would think he would bring a hefty return. If kept him and Meadows should continue the “Dream Outfield” well into the middle of the 2020s. Love this kid and what he can do. A big investment well worth it thus far

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