Wilson Ramos jumped on the national scene this past week, picking up seven hits in his first nine Major League at-bats, but his hitting prowess is not new news to TwinCitiesDugout.com. The backstop has been all over our prospect radar for the past five years, and is finally making himself a known player to the rest of the country. Once a bargaining chip for the organization, Ramos may have worked his way into being a guy who gets in the lineup somehow nearly everyday, and should stay with the Twins even when Joe Mauer is healthy.
The Twins signed Wilson Ramos on July 7, 2004, as scout Jose Leon picked up the non-drafted free agent from Valencia, Venezuela.
After beginning his career with the Dominican Summer League Twins in 2005, batting only .252, Ramos would never bat lower than .286 for the rest of his Minor League career. The right-handed hitting Ramos had a career batting average of .290 going into the 2010 season, and had it not been for a certain MVP catcher, would have been the Twins catcher of the future.
In 2006, Ramos would play for the Gulf Coast League Twins, appearing in 46 games as the team’s catcher. He would bat .286 for the season, but was one of the hottest hitters in the organization over a three week period. From July 20 to August 7, Ramos hit safely in 13 of 14 games, and finished his hit streak with a three-hit performance against the GCL Red Sox.
The 2007 season would bring big recognition to Ramos, as he would be ranked as the third best prospect in the organization by Baseball America. He hit .291 for the Beloit Snappers, collecting 85 hits in 73 games, and had two hit streaks of ten or more games. A strained thumb would end his season at the end of August.
The jump to High-A ball is one of the hardest jumps a young prospect can make, but at only 20 years old, Ramos would hit a career-high 13 home runs for the Fort Myers Miracle. The budding superstar finished the season sixth in the organization in runs batted in, and he played in the Florida State League All-Star Game.
Ramos was also named a post-season All-Star, and was rated as the eighth best prospect in the Florida State League. Once again being named the third best prospect in the organization, Ramos was also named the best defensive catcher in the Florida State League, and would finish his season playing in the Venezuelan Winter League.
At 21-years old, Ramos would get his first taste of Double-A ball in 2009, and would not disappoint. In 54 games for the Rock Cats, Ramos batted over .300 for the first time in his career, and ranked as the best power hitter, best defensive catcher, and second best prospect in the system. He would end the season leading all Twins full-season prospects in batting average.
Though he got off to a slow start at Triple-A Rochester in 2010, Ramos got the call to the big leagues when Joe Mauer was sidelined with a sore heel. He was the first Twins since Kirby Puckett to collect four hits in his first Major League game, going 4-5 against the Cleveland Indians. Helping starter Francisco Liriano notch his four win of the season, Ramos was apart of the Twins’ 20-hit brigade, and also hit his first career double.
He would follow up his historic debut with a three-hit effort the following night, adding to his legend. Through four Major League games, Ramos is batting .438, and has given the Twins the breathing room to wait for Mauer to heal.