Success Of J.C. Ramirez Largely Attributable To Curveball

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Updated: April 26, 2017

Pitcher J.C. Ramirez was originally part of the Angels’ bullpen in the earlier stages of the year. However, the unfortunate loss of ace caliber hurler Garrett Richards essentially forced Ramirez to claw his way into the starting rotation. It is definitely fair to say that Ramirez is making the most of the opportunity. Some would suggest that his success is mainly due to being one of the hardest throwers in the game. What is interesting to note is that the theory is false.

As a matter of fact, what has spurred his rise in the team’s rotation has been the injection of a new breaking pitch. He has always been known as a fastball and slider kind of guy. Those have always been his bread and butter. But the installment of a curveball has occurred. What is crucial to point out is that it has actually helped improve the quality and sharpness of his slider.

According to an article by Pedro Moura of The Los Angeles Times, data from BrooksBaseball.net indicates that “Ramirez’s slider moves more than an inch differently, on average, than it did last season.” Such a discrepancy may sounds minor, yet it still shows signs of improvement. The improvement has not gone unnoticed by the squad’s brass. Manager Mike Scioscia has been pleased with the 28-year-old’s development. He explains that the better bite to Ramirez’s slider is nothing new.

“‘A lot of times, guys who have sliders a little bit flat will try to throw a curveball, and then they go back to a slider and get the depth they want,’ Scioscia said. ‘In JC’s case, that definitely happened. His curveball’s legitimate.’”

Last night was tangible proof of J.C.’s ability to evolve in the bigs. It was clearly the best start in his career. He threw seven scoreless frames and tossed a career high 92 pitches. In addition, the right-handed hurler only coughed up a pair of hits during his high quality start. He allowed two walks as well, but was otherwise fantastic for his team. Simply fantastic.

Tuesday may have marked what was only his third start in 2017. Although that cannot be denied, it was certainly a gigantic leap forward for the native of Nicaragua. The Angels will need Ramirez to continue to perform well in his new role. Richards’ return to the rubber is unknown right now, and the ball club needs all the help they can get. Rock solid games like last night definitely provide a breath of fresh air.

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