On Friday, the Los Angeles Angels announced that they selected the contract of reliever John Curtiss from Triple-A and, in a corresponding move, designated right-hander Matt Ramsey for assignment.
Who is Matt Ramsey? The minor-league veteran has had somewhat of a strange career path. After being selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 19th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, he reached Double-A with the Rays before being traded to the Miami Marlins during the beginning of the 2014 international signing period for bonus money. While he found relative success with the Fish’s Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville, he missed the entirety of the 2015 season, as well as a large chunk of 2016 due to injury before being picked up in the minor-league portion of the 2016 Rule 5 Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
He struggled in the Brewers organization and elected minor-league free agency, seemingly destined to go drift through the remainder of his professional career as a minor-league depth journeyman. Ramsey, however, defied the odds and received his first call to the show in April and appeared in a game with the Angels, pitching one scoreless inning. Now, at first glance, his removal from the 40-man roster seems innocuous enough, seeing as how Ramsey is a 29-year-old reliever with one inning of major-league experience under his belt, alongside a 5.27 ERA over 13.2 innings pitched, but let’s look a bit deeper into it.
The first, and probably most obvious thing to take into account is the fact that his “struggles” in the Pacific Coast League are seemingly the product of poor luck based on a .372 BABIP, 52 percent LOB, and 3.41 FIP. Furthermore, once you consider the fact that his May 8 appearance against the Las Vegas 51s, in which he allowed four runs over a third of an inning, was a significant outlier, that bloated ERA drops to 2.70 and his walk rate falls from 5.27 BB/9 to 4.05. While that walk rate isn’t necessarily special, it is proportional to his 9.88 K/9. This success in the PCL is actually an extension of the 2018 season, in which he posted a 2.30 ERA with a 3.85 FIP over 33 appearances (47 innings) with the Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate in Fresno.
Now let’s check out my projections for Ramsey:
28 games/33.2 innings pitched/0.52 HR9/4.19 BB9/11.26 K9/47.5:36.8 GB:FB/2.92 ERA
What’s even more interesting about this ERA projection is the fact that it was weighted at 5 percent higher than I would have normally done for a pitcher, seeing as how Ramsey has logged a single inning in the major leagues. Once you take into account that he also has three minor-league options and six seasons of team control remaining (barring a CBA change), Ramsey carries a considerable amount of value for any of the myriad of organizations in need of additional bullpen depth. While he’s not a flashy name, he’s worth the $50k waiver claim fee.
I’m a big angels fan and curiously, due to the sad state of our bullpen, I spent a day looking for BP help and came upon Matt Ramsey. Looking at his Minor League career it looked really good for a guy who had never played in the Bigs. When he was called up within the week, I was thrilled, especially when he pitched a clean inning. Good for him. Then they DFA’d him a week later and then don’t pick him up when he clears wavers. I don’t get it. Too sad.