In an interview with MLB.com, Yankees' GM Brian Cashman said that the team will move right-handed pitching prospect Jose Ramirez to the bullpen. Cashman noted that Ramirez's injury history was the reason why they decided to move the 24-year-old from the rotation to the bullpen.
Moving Ramirez to the bullpen shouldn't be too much of a surprise and is probably a move for the best. Just last season, Ramirez missed the beginning of the year due to "fatigue," while missing the final month of the season due to a strained oblique. He also re-injured the same oblique this spring while warming up during a game early on in camp. This all comes after previous troubles with his elbow and shoulder.
In 2013, Ramirez pitched to a 3.67 ERA and 4.63 FIP through 17 games and 73.2 innings split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, though he pitched much better while with Trenton (2.76 ERA, 4.26 FIP) than he did with Scranton (4.88 ERA, 5.05 FIP). Ramirez' innings totals have also declined every year the last few seasons, going 115 IP in 2010, 103.1 IP in 2011, 98.2 IP in 2012, and 73.2 innings last season.
As a starter, Ramirez already had a power fastball that can get close to triple digits, and, theoretically, Ramirez could see an uptick in velocity now that he'll be a reliever. Along with the power fastball, Ramirez boasts a wicked change-up that could rank as one of the best breaking pitches in the organization. Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus had Ramirez as the Yankees' number two prospect this winter, noting that he has a chance to be a "high-leverage reliever, perhaps even a closer" if he can straighten out his command. Though it's a bit disappointing to see Ramirez not stick as a starter, at least we can dream of a late-inning bullpen in the Bronx that features the likes of David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Mark Montgomery, and Ramirez someday.