Ramirez is 16-for-42 in his last 10 games at Double-A Altoona, bringing his 2016 batting average to .299. Ramirez hasn't wasted any time to make an impression during his first season at the Double-A level. He currently has Altoona's second best batting average and is one of three players on the squad with at least 20 RBI. Ramirez is rated as one of the Pirates' top prospects, and rightfully so, as he's a rare player that has the ability to hit for both power and average. However, with an exceptional outfield containing Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco, the Pirates have no need to rush Ramirez's development and he'll likely finish 2016 with Altoona.
The Pirates reassigned Ramirez to Double-A Altoona on Monday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The outfielder, who went 11-for-19 in Grapefruit League action, has never played above the High-A level. He's already left the Pirates' campus to help his home country of Columbia qualify for the World Baseball Classic. Ramirez likely boosted his stock as much as any position player this spring, though the organization already features one of the best outfield trios in the major leagues.
Ramirez has looked strong thus far in spring training, collecting nine hits in 14 at-bats. "He's what I call a bone collector: He gets base hits," manager Clint Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Ramirez is expected to begin the season with Double-A Altoona. He hit .337/.399/.458 in 344 plate appearances for High-A Bradenton in 2015. With Austin Meadows (orbital bone) sidelined without an immediate timeframe to return, Ramirez takes over as the Bucs' best outfield prospect. He could make his big league debut in 2016, but it would likely take injury to one of the team's starting outfielders and continued strong play by Ramirez.
Ramirez was added to the 40-man roster Friday. Ramirez had a very impressive campaign with High-A Bradenton at just 20 years old for most of the season, slashing .337/.399/.458 in 80 games. He figures to keep moving up the organizational ladder in 2016 and will now be protected from the Rule 5 draft.