Ramsey’s Consistency Could Lead to Opportunity in Cleveland
Ryan Hohman | On 29, Jun 2015
James Ramsey has been one of the Indians’ most consistent players since being acquired from the Cardinals for Justin Masterson last year. His steady contributions at the plate and in the outfield make the former first round pick a prime candidate for a promotion to the majors.
Ramsey’s 2014 was his best offensive season. In 95 games – split between farm systems in St. Louis and Cleveland – he hit .295, tied a career high in homers (16), and set a new best in RBIs (52).
Defensively, he was perfect, not committing a single error all season. Flawlessness in the outfield is nothing new to Ramsey, though. Up until a few weeks ago, he had not committed an error since 2013.
“The error this year was a tough play, but I expect myself to make it,” said Ramsey.
1.000 fielding percentage spanning two-plus seasons – how does one pull off such a feat?
“I think focus,” Ramsey said. “I think you just have to stay locked in mentally. I’ve never been a big proponent of saying ‘defense is just something,’ especially in the outfield, that you’re just trying to get the ball and get it back into the infield. It’s so much more than that.”
“I think a lot of times positioning goes into play, homework on guys, knowing the pitchers and what pitches they will throw in certain counts so you can be on the same page. There’s a lot. I think communication between all three positions is big.”
One teammate Ramsey was communicating with long before arriving in Columbus is outfielder Tyler Holt. The two teamed up at Florida State, where Holt played center and Ramsey played right while leading the Noles to the College World Series in 2010.
“Nothing’s changed,” said Holt, with a laugh, when asked about playing with Ramsey again. “We still mess around. He still tries to act like he knows more than me, which he probably does, so it’s awesome. He’s a good guy, great teammate and even better off the field. I love it.”
Through 72 games this season, Ramsey is hitting .246 with a .336 OBP. His eight home runs and 25 RBI with the Clippers are second on the team, only trailing slugger Jesus Aguilar. In hopes of raising his batting average a few points, Ramsey remains focused on doing what got him here.
“I think more than anything just continue to do what makes me successful which is just simplifying things and doing what you do well and trusting that works at the highest level,” said Ramsey. “I feel like I’ve done a really good job at putting together great at-bats. Having good ABs whether I’m getting hits or not. Putting everybody in front or behind me in the lineup in a good situation offensively.”
Despite a near perfect season in the outfield so far, Ramsey continues to work hard to improve defensively.
“Defensively, I think of the word versatility,” said Ramsey. “Making sure that I’m not just an adequate defender but an above average defender at the big league level at all three positions in the outfield. So whenever that time comes to help out the team I’m fully ready to do so.”
Off the field, Christian faith, family, and friends are very important to Ramsey.
“Keeping up with family and friends,” said Ramsey. “I do a lot of reading and stuff faith-wise. I’m reading a theology book right now. Always trying to look at ways to better my relationship and help other guys out. Something they don’t know, maybe they do know. I just really value getting to know everybody in the clubhouse. Investing in guys. Not just American guys, but my Latin teammates as well.”
Playing in the International League recently gave the Alpharetta, Georgia native a chance to return home for a series against the Gwinnett Braves, which plays at a stadium about 40 minutes southeast from where Ramsey grew up. He was greeted by a large crowd of family and friends who have supported him since he was young.
“It’s been great,” said Ramsey. “There was a huge crowd at Gwinnett. It’s always good to get back to your roots and the people who supported you all along. They are along for the journey themselves, so anytime I can go down south it’s been a lot of fun.”
Today, Ramsey’s family and friends flock to cheer him on in Gwinnett. Soon, they might find themselves booking a flight to Cleveland to watch him play under the lights at Progressive Field.
Photo credit: Jonathan Quilter/Columbus Dispatch