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Posted at 9:27 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Nationals add Elvin Ramirez, Brian Broderick in Rule 5 draft

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals selected right-handed pitcher Elvin Ramirez from the New York Mets' Class AA affiliate with their first pick in the Rule 5 draft, a possible coup for a right-handed reliever who can hit regularly hit 98 miles per hour and reach 100 with his fastball.

The Nationals lost only shortstop Michael Martinez from Class AAA Syracuse, whom the Phillies took with the final pick in the first round. The Nationals took Brian Broderick, another right-handed pitcher, from the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round.

The Nationals will need to either carry Broderick and Ramirez on their 25-man roster for the entire season or they will return to their original team when released.

The player with the best chance to stick is Ramirez, 23. He has hit 100 miles per hour with his fastball in the Dominican winter league, and some expected he would be taken first overall in the Rule 5 draft once the Mets chose not to protect him. Though he's had control problems in his career, Ramirez's raw potential makes him a candidate to join the Nationals' 2011 bullpen.

"If he throws enough strikes," General Manager Mike Rizzo said, "his stuff is as good as anybody's we've got."

In scouting Ramirez this winter, the Nationals became convinced Ramirez has begun to correct his control struggles. In 80 innings pitched last year at Class A and AA, Ramirez had a 4.16 ERA with 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings, but also a whopping 5.5 walks.

The Nationals sent three scouts to watch Ramirez this winter in the Dominican, where he played for Gigantes and pitching coach Franklin Bravo, who served as pitching coach for Class A Vermont last season. In 20 2/3 innings, Ramirez walked just four batters while striking out 26, compiling a 2.18 ERA.

"He's finally figuring out the strike zone," Rizzo said. "The later portion of the minor league season and this winter, he's taken it to a different level. He's a big, power guy we hope helps us in the bullpen this year. A great scouting effort by our scouts. You're taking a chance on a guy that throws upper-90s, 100. If he throws consistent strikes, he'll be a good piece for us in the bullpen."

At Class AA last season, Broderick, 24, posted a 2.77 ERA in 15 starts and two relief appearances. Broderick walked only 14 batters in 100 2/3 innings. The Nationals have a crowded competition for the back end of their rotation even without yet adding any starting pitching this offseason, but Rizzo said Broderick will compete. He's a sinkerballer who throws in the high-80s and low 90s.

"This is going to go into spring training with a chance to make the club," Rizzo said.

In the minor league portion of the draft, the Nationals took right-handed pitcher Michael Allen from the Twins' Class AA roster.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 9, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
 
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Comments

Who needs Cliff Lee when you have Elvin Ramirez in the fold?

Posted by: BobLHead | December 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

How old is Elvin? If only they could get Elvin's velocity with Broderick's control!

Posted by: dfh21 | December 9, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/?pl_id=83621

Elvin turned 23 this yr on 10/23 (for whatever that's worth). He stands 6'3" and 208 lbs...

Posted by: -CN- | December 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Plus, Riggleman can yell "ElVIN" is his best Dave Seville voice when making calls to the bullpen. (Sorry, but I got nothing from an armchair GM standpoint.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks -CN-. 23 is nice, maybe the kid figures out how to get the ball over the plate and becomes a real find.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 9, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

His WHIP was high, obviously, at 1.38. Surprising thing is he only pitched in 3 games (6 2/3 innings) at the AA level, so he is really raw...

Posted by: -CN- | December 9, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

What I like is the Nats pitching coach had a couple of weeks to see what the guy is all about. Sounds like 2 reasonable fliers here.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 9, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"This is going to go into spring training with a chance to make the club," Rizzo said.

What, that hacking cough that's been going around at the Winter Meetings?

Posted by: FeelWood | December 9, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Ramirez looks like a longshot to make the bullpen. If he's good enough to stick on the 25-man roster we keep him, if not he goes back to the Mets. Baseball Prospectus had this to say about him:

"One of the talks of the Dominican Winter League with 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 20.2 innings for Cibao; Plus-plus velocity, but no previous history of throwing strikes consistently."

Nothing wrong with taking a shot I guess.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

FYI

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Nationals keep generating buzz this offseason.

Washington is "being aggressive" in its pursuit of a trade for Royals ace Zack Greinke, a source said Wednesday.

That term seems to be the theme of the Nationals' offseason in the wake of their megadeal with Jayson Werth and reported pursuit of big-ticket free agents from Cliff Lee on down. But while luring quality free agents to D.C. might remain difficult until the Nationals can demonstrate they're ready to contend, they could make themselves better of their own accord by swinging a deal for an elite player like Greinke.

The pitcher is signed through 2012 at $13.5 million for each of the next two seasons. He can block a trade to 15 teams.

FanHouse analyst Frankie Piliere says the Nationals have enough young players in their farm system beyond the presumably untouchable Bryce Harper to make a trade, but it's a matter of where the Royals can find the best package in return

.By Ed Price
Senior MLB Writer

Posted by: hansenjo | December 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Buster Olney on ESPN980 ostensibly for the purpose of talking Winter Meetings but, actually, to flack his latest book. He did take the time, though, to crap all over the Nats and the Werth signing. (Won't help now, they'll be paying for his declining years on the back end). He also said that the Nats aren't close to signing Laroche and could go dumpster diving for Derek Lee or some such. Always a joy to listen to Mr. Olney.

Posted by: mojo6 | December 9, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

1a, maybe we could talk Davey Johnson into that...
"Okaaaay, Dave!"

It also occurs to me that Rule 5 guys can be traded. It's unusual, because they do still have to stay on the new team's 25-man, but a team like KC might be in a pisition to do that with a guy who throws 98.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"beyond the presumably untouchable Bryce Harper..."
This was from someone who's getting paid??

He was just drafted this summer. They aren't allowed to trade him for a year.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 9, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Sec3:

Once the guy as a ML contract, he still can't be traded for a year after the draft? Are you sure about that one?

Posted by: TheBorg | December 9, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The pitching piece will be harder to figure out. Who wants to give Pavano (the last quality FA SP) 3 years at age 35? And we can't make Lee sign with us. Even with a lesser offer, he can make more money in NY and Texas. The 1B hole has to be filled (with a left-handed bat, not Morse). The pitching may end up coming from a trade. But I bet it will cost a ton. If you like Desmond, you may not like how we end up getting the SP everybody wants.

Posted by: fpcsteve | December 9, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Borg: yes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 9, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

fpc, no way I can see Rizzo preaching the plan then dealing Desmond, even for starting pitching. I would think we'd have to give up more then our minor league trash to get Grienke (but how great would it be if we didn't!) so I can't see him coming here without gutting what little talent we have there.

Hmmm... maybe Morgan, Norris, Chico and Kimball... and the entire Potomac roster, sort of like the Herschel Walker trade

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 9, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Borg: yes.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 9, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

>Washington is "being aggressive" in its pursuit of a trade for Royals ace Zack Greinke, a source said Wednesday.

That term seems to be the theme of the Nationals' offseason in the wake of their megadeal with Jayson Werth and reported pursuit of big-ticket free agents from Cliff Lee on down. But while luring quality free agents to D.C. might remain difficult until the Nationals can demonstrate they're ready to contend, they could make themselves better of their own accord by swinging a deal for an elite player like Greinke.

Posted by: hansenjo

It might be tough to lure players here, but it sure is easy to talk about it. Go Pants Go! Go get him Pants!!

Like Boz says 'we're all waiting'

Posted by: Brue | December 9, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

fpc, no way I can see Rizzo preaching the plan then dealing Desmond, even for starting pitching.

Posted by: SCNatsFan

Of course you can't see it. Yeah, that new plan would be a 'winning plan' as opposed to the one he's got now. This team is going to have to make trades in order to get to the next step. They've already got two shortstops on the big league roster. Rizzo needs to put on his big boy pants and start dealing some of these prospects he's made the mistake of becoming enamored with.

Posted by: Brue | December 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I understand what you're saying Brue, and given the choice of having an elite SP or a SS prospect it's obvious which one I'd pick, but if you preach building the team from the bottom up and you develop what COULD be a premium middle infield for years and years then it would be awfully tough to break them up. We could, however, sign Kennedy again...

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 9, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, infields don't tend to stay together "for years and years" anymore.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 9, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Elvin Ramirez and his winter league performance, the quote below should be taken with a grain of salt since batters in the Dominican winter league tend to be swingin', not watching. As the saying goes, you don't walk off the island.

"One of the talks of the Dominican Winter League with 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 20.2 innings for Cibao; Plus-plus velocity, but no previous history of throwing strikes consistently."

BTW, here, what these same guys are saying about me.
"One of the talks of Golden Corral with 9 plates with just 1 vegetable in 3 consecutive sittings; Plus-plus appetite, but no previous history of keeping down his liquor."
Mom's very proud....

Posted by: Sunderland | December 9, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh, Sunderland (out loud, for the record).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 9, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I like the thought about stocking up on these rule 5 guys for purposes of making a trade. The nationals can't be bad enough to have either of these guys make the team? I like Desmond, but he is the kind of guy you might like to consider trading when he still has a valuable upside. Who knows what to make of his errors?

Posted by: rmark1 | December 9, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Best question from Tracee Hamilton's online chat this am:
==========================================
I'm bored
Can you go ask the Nats to sign somebody for a lot of money? I need something to talk about...
==========================================
Okay, it had to have been one of you guys. Fess up.

Posted by: gilbertbp | December 9, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that's my birthday, too!

I didn't need another reason to like a guy named Elvin who throws 98, but there you are.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 9, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Nationals went +2 in the Rule V draft this year, picking up two pitchers in the ML-portion (Ramirez from the NYM, and Broderick from StL), and one in the MiLB portion (Allen from MIN). Meanwhile, they lost a 28yo 2B-CF (Michael Martinez) to PHI.

Looking at the gains, Ramirez brings serious RH heat (97-100mph), but unless he keeps his walk rate below 3.0 per 9 in Viera, he'll probably get offered back to the Mets. Broderick was scheduled to play in the AFL this fall, but can't find his results. His 2010 minor league numbers look dominating at AA however, with a 11-2 W-L, 2.77ERA, 3.9:1K-W ratio, & a 1.09WHIP over 100 2/3 IP in 17GP. Seems like he's improved as he advances; A good gamble, IMO.

Posted by: BinM | December 9, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

@rmark1: Desmond has range to die for, a strong arm, but just doesn't know when to "eat" a grounder. His minor league errors were just as numerous as they were in DC, which is why I've been crusading for him to move into CF - IMO, he won't last long as a SS.

Posted by: BinM | December 9, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

If we keep Elvin Ramirez, can we get Elvin Bishop to do the National Anthem, one day?

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 9, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Bin on this. Desmond has everything but the knowledge of when to "put it in your pocket", which is one of the hardest things to teach an aggressive infielder.

BTW, Zimm, who has been called, on MLB network, "the elite 3rd baseman in baseball", is sometimes guilty of this. It's what happens when you get too aggressive. Thanks, I'll take it, as opposed to Ole.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | December 9, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Desmond has been playing professional baseball for 7 years and he's 26 years old, the idea that he'll grow into the SS position and learn new tricks at this point is not a good bet. He's an impressive athlete and sure it COULD happen, but he has not been very good with the glove at any level, why do people see it happening now?

Desmond is more likely to be a guy without a position (not good enough with the glove to play middle infield or CF, not enough pop to play a corner), than he is likely to become some slick fielding All Star caliber SS in MLB.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm bored. At this point I'd settle for a Wang signing just to have something to read.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 10, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

...don't worry about Wang. The Nat's will steal Lee, and trade for Greinke. Then we just wait to add Stras in '12! Now wasn't that easier than you thought? and it makes Christmas a whole lot merrier too!

Posted by: 1of9000 | December 10, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Elvins have done well in Washington (how soon we forget Mr. Hayes!).

Posted by: VPaterno | December 10, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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