06/07/11 11:52 PM ET
Cal State Fullerton's Ramirez excited to join Sox
By Jason Mastrodonato / MLB.com
But his spirits were suddenly lifted on Tuesday afternoon, when he heard his named called in the First-Year Player Draft, selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round.
"It was a surreal feeling, man" Ramirez said by phone from his California home. "The Red Sox, it's a great organization, great tradition, great history. I'm real pumped to be part of that now.
"I still feel pretty bad about being eliminated, because I definitely had bigger expectations for our team. It's tough, but this definitely brought me up."
Ramirez was the staff ace for the Titans this season, going 8-4 with a 1.69 ERA and 103 strikeouts to 20 walks in 90 2/3 innings. He allowed just one home run all season, holding opposing hitters to a .179 batting average.
Through the second day of the Draft, the Red Sox have selected 33 players -- 17 in college and 16 in high school. With 11 college pitchers compared to eight in high school, scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said Ramirez was the perfect guy to balance some riskier picks elsewhere in the Draft.
"A guy like Noe Ramirez, he's been a performer for three years and played on Team USA," Sawdaye said, reached by phone on Tuesday night. "So it's a pretty good balance and we're excited."
Ramirez earned a silver medal with Team USA at the V FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo last summer. He recorded five saves and a 2.70 ERA in a team-high nine appearances, all out of relief.
"We haven't really talked about that," Ramirez said when asked if he would continue as a starter or pitch out of the bullpen. "I'm not too sure on that. Sure, I've done it before. It's a comfortable deal with me, so that's something I could do."
Ranked 28th on Baseball America's 2011 Top 100 College Draft Prospects list compiled Jan. 3, Ramirez was also named a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
"My pitch is definitely the changeup," the junior said. "That's something that I feel my successes came from. I feel comfortable throwing all the pitches I have -- fastball and slider. But the changeup has definitely been my pitch."
Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at noon ET Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
After an exciting first day that general manager Theo Epstein felt extremely pleased with, the Sox chose Williams Jerez, a center fielder out of Grand Street Campus in New York with their first pick of Day 2, No. 81 overall.
Jerez, originally a left-handed pitcher who moved from the Dominican Republic two years ago, has a 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, and his raw athleticism could provide a lot of upside.
"He's a projectable young high school player, a guy that hopefully hits for more power," Sawdaye said. "He has a lot of ingredients to be a good hitter, and he's a good defensive outfielder."
With the strong commitment to the University of Texas, first-round pick Blake Swihart could be a tough one to sign. But the Red Sox got a little insurance at the catcher position Tuesday, selecting Jordan Weems, a backstop from Columbus High School in Georgia.
Sawdaye said drafting Weems had no relation to the expected difficulty in signing Swihart.
"His stance has always been college first, but our strategy has always been take the best player on the board and try to sign him," Sawdaye said. "We think both those guys are going to hit and both of them are going to play behind the dish."
Weems helped lead his high school team to a state championship last season and is committed to Georgia State. At 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, Weems has a strong arm behind the plate, and Sawdaye shrugged off any thought that he's more of a defensive catcher.
Shortstop Markus Betts out of John Overton High School (Tenn.) rounded out to the first five rounds, becoming the fifth high school player drafted by the Red Sox.
Betts, nicknamed "Mookie," was also a standout basketball player, and a terrific bowler, with a 221 average last year to qualify for the state tournament. He is committed to Tennessee.
Overall, Sawdaye was excited about the team's first 30 rounds, though that's no different from past drafts.
"It's weird, it's just one of those things where Draft day is always so exciting," he said. "I don't think I've ever walked out of the draft room disappointed. You take the players you like. You lose a player here and there, but you end up with players you really like."
Round 2, Williams Jerez, center fielder, Grand Street Campus (N.Y.): The 6-foot-4 pure athlete from the Dominican Republic was a former pitcher and hits left-handed.
Round 3, Jordan Weems, catcher, Columbus High School (Ga.): The tall, lanky backstop helped lead Columbus to a state championship in 2010, and while his power has been questioned, his arm behind the plate is a strength.
Round 4, Noe Ramirez, right-handed pitcher, Cal State Fullerton: Ramirez jumped up draft boards after another strong year with the Titans. The crafty righty has a fastball that touches the low 90s, though he relies heavily on his offspeed pitches.
Round 5, Markus Betts, shortstop, John Overton High School (Tenn.): Betts is an athletic shortstop with sound defensive skills and a quick bat. He was a standout basketball player and bowler for John Overton.
Round 6, Miguel Pena, left-handed pitcher, San Jacinto College North: The left-hander fanned 93 batters in 85 innings this season, throwing complete-games in eight of his 14 starts with a 1.91 ERA. He was sent home from the Cape Cod League last summer for disciplinary reasons.
Round 7, Cody Kukuk, left-handed pitcher, Lawrence Free State High School (Kan.): Kukus is a strong 6-foot-4 lefty with upside. He could take time as a developmental project though.
Round 8, Senquez Golson, center fielder, Pascagoula High School (Miss.): A raw athlete, Golson signed a letter of intent to play football at Ole Miss.
Round 9, Travis Shaw, third baseman, Kent State: A big, strong left-handed hitter, Shaw's father, Jeff, made two All-Star teams over a 12-year Major League career. Travis may profile more as a first baseman.
Round 10, Cody Koback, center fielder, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: Koback has a ton of speed, but he'll have to learn how to use it on the bases and in the outfield to pair with his consistent bat.
Round 11, Kevin Brahney, left-handed pitcher, Cal State Chico: The 6-foot-5 lefty had some hard luck his senior year, tallying a 2-5 record despite a 3.58 ERA. He struck out 74 batters in 65 1/3 innings, though he also walked 26.
Round 12, Deshorn Lake, right-handed pitcher, Menchville HS (Va.): The 17-year-old native of the Virgin Islands has raw talent and a fastball that clocks in at more than 90 mph.
Round 13, Matthew Ott, right-handed pitcher, LSU: Ott made 26 appearances for the Tigers last season, all out of relief, striking out 27 batters in 27 2/3 innings.
Round 14, Michael McCarthy, right-handed pitcher, Cal State Bakersfield: The fifth-year senior redshirted his junior year after transferring to Bakersfield, and he tossed a team-high 127 2/3 innings with a 1.62 ERA.
Round 15, Braden Kapteyn, first baseman, Kentucky: Drafted in the 39th round by the Giants in 2008, Kapteyn opted to be a Wildcat, where he batted .304 with 16 homers and 97 RBIs over three years.
Round 16, Daniel Gossett, right-handed pitcher, James F. Byrnes High School (S.C.): Committed to Clemson, Gossett was perfect in the regular season for Byrnes High, going 5-0 with a 0.14 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 49 innings.
Round 17, Blake Forslund, right-handed pitcher, Liberty University: Forslund tossed just 21 2/3 innings, split between the rotation and bullpen, after sitting out one year following a transfer from Virginia. He walked 15 batters in 21 2/3 innings, striking out 22 with a 8.31 ERA.
Round 18, Andrew Jones, right-handed pitcher, Samford University: Jones set a school record with 15 saves in the 2011 season, posting a 1.49 ERA as a senior.
Round 19, Jeffrey Orvis, first baseman, Freedom HS (Fla.): The 18-year-old is 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and carries some strength from the left side of the plate.
Round 20, Zachary Good, left-handed pitcher, Grayson County College: Good walked 28 batters with 60 strikeouts and a 5.18 ERA over 64 innings this season.
Round 21, Austin Davidson, third base, Oxnard High School (Calif.): A solid player all around and an above-average fielder, Davidson could project as a utility player, but at just 18 years old, it's too early to tell.
Round 22, Joseph Holtmeyer, right-handed pitcher, University of Nebraska - Omaha: The junior led the MIAA with 96 strikeouts in 71 innings, picking up second-team All-South Central Region Team honors.
Round 23, Jarrett Brown, left-handed pitcher, Salem High School (Ga.): A nice easy delivery, the Georgia commit fanned 96 batters in 53 2/3 innings with a 2.48 ERA.
Round 24, Andrew Turocy, center fielder, Akron: The 22-year-old had Tommy John surgery in 2009, broke the program record with 95 hits his following season. He led the team with 10 stolen bases, a .347 average and .563 slugging percentage his senior season.
Round 25, Taylor Ard, first baseman, Washington State: Ard was a Rawlings Junior college All-American after hitting for the league triple crown (.490, 12 HR, 49 RBI) in 2009 before transferring to Washington State.
Round 26, Cody Dill, right-handed pitcher, Los Osos High School (Calif.): The 6-foot-1 hurler has a strong arm, though he is signed on to play at University of California Riverside.
Round 27, Alex Massey, right-handed pitcher, Catholic High School (La.): Honorable mention for the All-State team, the four-year varsity pitcher is committed to Tulane University.
Round 28, Brenden Shepard, right-handed pitcher, Stonehill College: The only Massachusetts player drafted by the Red Sox, the Masconomet graduate struck out 34 batters in 22 1/3 innings with 10 saves.
Round 29, Matthew Spalding, right-handed pitcher, St. Xavier High School (Ky.): The Western Kentucky commit throws consistently in the low 90s and put together a 1.80 ERA this season.
Round 30, Nick Moore, third baseman, Brookwood High School (Ga.): A 6-foot-2, 200-pound switch-hitter, Moore was also a member of Brookwood's successful football program.
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.