Former Marlins closer AJ Ramos hasn’t pitched since 2018 due to ongoing shoulder troubles, but the 2016 All-Star is eyeing a comeback bid in the 2020 season. Ramos recently tweeted a video of himself pitching in a game setting (with velocity and spin-rate data courtesy of Cressey Sports Performance in Florida) and included the hashtag “#Comebackszn”. The 33-year-old right-hander also detailed his comeback efforts in an interview with KAMC News in Lubbock, Tex. a couple weeks back (Twitter link, with video).
“I know that I have a lot left in me,” said Ramos. “This is what I love to do. It’s like I have a new motivation. Before, I was motivated to show everybody that I was good enough. Now, I’m motivated just to play — to have the max amount of fun doing it. If there’s a season [in 2020], I’ll be ready for it.”
Ramos was sidelined for the 2019 campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum, per the KAMC segment. But radar gun readings in the video tweeted by Ramos register his fastball in the 93-95 mph range and feature him throwing all of his offspeed offering as well. On the surface, it appears as though the right-hander is at least close to full strength.
If that’s indeed the case, Ramos becomes an intriguing buy-low option for virtually any club in the league. While it’s obviously been quite some time since we’ve seen Ramos at one hundred percent, he was quietly one of the game’s more effective ninth-inning options for an extended period. In parts of six seasons with the Marlins from 2012-17, Ramos racked up 327 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 92 saves, 10.4 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 0.49 HR/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate.
There’s no telling whether Ramos can once again regain that All-Star form. However, given that he’d likely command on a non-guaranteed deal after more than two years away from a big league mound — his last pitch came on May 26, 2018 — there’s no real risk to rolling the dice and seeing if Ramos can revive his career now that his shoulder has healed up.