Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus briefly reviewed some of the picks from the Rule 5 Draft earlier this week. He had some positive things to say about the Nationals two picks:
Elvin Ramirez, RHP (from Mets): One of the talks of the Dominican Winter League with 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 20.2 innings for Cibao; Plus-plus velocity, but no previous history of throwing strikes consistently.
Brian Broderick, RHP (from Cardinals): Six-foot-six righty combines sink with nearly super-natural command; but that’s the sum of his abilities as secondary pitches lag behind.
These were two interesting picks for the Nationals. The club was clearly trying to add a player or two to their pitching staff and it seems like these two players actually may have a chance to stick. Ramirez, 23, reportedly has top-of-the-line stuff but poor command. Reports out of the Dominican Winter League however say that he has been able to maintain his 100 MPH fastball while drastically reducing walks:
“The Nationals sent three scouts to watch Ramirez this winter in the Dominican, where he played for Gigantes and pitching coach Franklin Bravo, who served as pitching coach for Class A Vermont last season. In 20 2/3 innings, Ramirez walked just four batters while striking out 26, compiling a 2.18 ERA.”
If he is able to continue to harness his great stuff, this may have end up being the steal of the draft. According to the glowing reports from Mike Rizzo, it sounds like he can make an immediate impact if he doesn’t give batters free passes. To me he sounds like an Armando Benitez in the making.
Broderick, 24, is probably less likely to make the club, but don’t count him out yet. While he posted a strong 2.77 ERA in 15 starts at AA last year, he is still relatively inexperienced for his age and doesn’t have the variety of pitches to make up for his high 80′s fastball. At least not now. His large frame and strong control actually makes him sound like a young Brandon Webb, but that sinker wont fool too many without an at least marginal fastball.