Coming into this season as the Cardinals No. 8 prospect according to Baseball America, right fielder James Ramsey has been a big reason why the Class AA Springfield Cardinals still remain in playoff contention with a record of 31-35. The 6-foot, 190 pound left-handed hitter was not initially scouted as a power hitter, but he has exploded this season by leading the team with 11 home runs and a .302 batting average. He’s even batting .311 with runners in scoring position, which has led to his 28 RBIs, tied for the team lead. As a result, Ramsey was selected as a Mid-Season All Star for the Texas League. All of this is even more impressive considering that he missed nearly a month with a sore shoulder. With the quick start to the 2014 season, the biggest question remains if he can finish the season with the same amount of power he had before suffering the shoulder injury.
Originally from Alpharetta, GA, Ramsey was a star infielder for his Wesleyan High School team in Norcross, Georgia. He opted to play baseball for Florida State, where his father managed the Seminoles to a 1980 College World Series title. After a successful three seasons with the Seminoles, Ramsey was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 22nd round, but he decided to return to Florida State for his senior year. The decision seemed to pay off as he garnered ACC Player of the Year honors and was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Co-Player of the Year in his senior year. As a result, the Cards drafted Ramsey in the first round as the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Ramsey’s professional career got off to a slow start for the Class A Advanced affiliate Palm Beach Cardinals, but he has been able to improve each season. In his first season, Ramsey hit just .229 and had one home run for Palm Beach. Last year, Ramsey started out in Palm Beach, but he was later promoted to Class AA Springfield, where he belted 15 homers and had a .251 batting average in 93 games.
When will we see Ramsey play in the big leagues? The Cardinals No. 1 prospect Oscar Taveras, who was recently demoted to Memphis after a slow start, figures to be a starting outfielder for the Cardinals at some point in the near future. Additionally, outfielder Randal Grichuck has excelled at Class AAA Memphis and has earned some playing time for the Cards this year. With all of the Cardinals’ quality outfield prospects, Ramsey may have to move to the infield, which is where he played in high school. For this season at least, I expect Ramsey to get promoted to Memphis and stay there until at least 2015. He could emerge as an impactful role player for the Cards in 2016 at the earliest.