James Ramsey Joins ‘From Phenom To The Farm:’ Episode 72

Image credit: Copyright Mike Janes/Four Seam Images

James Ramsey committing to Florida State just made sense.

As the son of two Florida State athletes, including a father who was the captain of the Seminoles’ 1980 College World Series team for legendary head coach Mike Martin, no one would’ve batted an eye if Ramsey had committed the second Martin called.


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In what would be a theme throughout his career, Ramsey didn’t take the decision lightly and didn’t give Martin an easy recruiting win.

“It was an interesting recruitment, my dad kind of took himself out of it,” said Ramsey. “I really left it wide open—I went to a camp at Vanderbilt (…) the calls from Florida State magically kind of ramped up when those other schools came calling.”

An excellent student, Ramsey kept all options open, visiting Yale in addition to Vanderbilt and Florida State, among others. Eventually, though, Ramsey realized his heart was in Tallahassee.

“Ultimately, for me, it was the same thing my junior year too, when you look at a 5,8, 10 year old kid (…) they do have dreams, and one of mine was always to make a huge impact at Florida State,” said Ramsey. “I think wanting not to just play there, but leave a legacy behind, and kind of be part of something special was always something from a young age—my parents never force-fed Florida State fandom on me, but I always loved everything about it.”

Ramsey spent most of his 2009 freshman year playing as a defensive replacement or pinch hitter but started every FSU game as a sophomore, playing right field for the College World Series-bound Noles.

During his junior season, Ramsey went to work on building the FSU legacy he’d dreamed of as a child. He again started every game and led the team in seven offensive categories, including batting average (.364) and slugging percentage (.580), en route to being named a Baseball America 3rd team All-American. Lauded by both professional scouts and head coach Martin as an incredible leader, Ramsey spearheaded another postseason run for the nationally ranked ‘Noles.

After a tough Game 3 Super Regional loss to Texas A&M, Ramsey was torn on his upcoming decision to possibly leave his dream school a year early. He turned down several early-round under-slot deals before being selected by the Twins in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft.

Ramsey headed to the Cape Cod League, but Minnesota wasn’t intent on letting him go back to school without a fight—especially after he homered and was named MVP of the Cape All-Star Game. Despite knowing that, in most cases, seniors get paid less in the draft, and the Twins offering him 2nd round money, Ramsey chose to finish what he started at Florida State.

“I had this unwavering belief, and I had a discipline about me that said I don’t just want this, but I do think I can do what it takes to get there,” said Ramsey. “It was a business decision that I had to put in the time, put in the effort, and back it up and stay healthy.”

The time, effort, and fortunate good health paid off big-time. Ramsey had a monster 2012 senior season in which he was named ACC Player of the Year and a 1st team Baseball America All-

American and helped lead the Seminoles back to Omaha. Following their elimination by eventual champion Arizona, Ramsey signed with the Cardinals for $1.6 million as the 23rd overall pick.

Ramsey reached Triple-A by his age-24 season, appearing in the 2014 Futures Game. While he consistently put up solid Triple-A numbers, a call to the show continued to be out of reach year after year.

As he transitioned from young prospect to older minor league veteran jumping from organization to organization, Ramsey began to question if continuing to try to beat down a closed door was worth it. A conversation with Alex Hassan, currently the Twins’ Vice President of Hitting Development and Acquisitions and a former big leaguer who logged nine plate appearances with the Red Sox in 2014, gave Ramsey the perspective needed to move on with his life.

“He was the one telling me, ‘You’re a big leaguer,’ but he also was the one telling me, ‘Getting a week is not going to change that; you’re not going to feel any better about yourself when you’re forty years old,’” said Ramsey. “As soon as I felt like my inputs and my outputs weren’t lining up—the amount that I worked, how early I got to the clubhouse, all these things—when the business side overcomes that to where you can’t fight against that, regardless of what the production is, and the opportunities go down, then I felt like I had to go try to be world-class elite at something else.”

Ramsey is currently the associate head coach at Georgia Tech, bringing the leadership that made him such a force at FSU to the Yellow Jacket dugout.

On the latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ James Ramsey joins to walk through his stellar college career, time in pro ball, and philosophies on leadership as a player and coach.

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