PHILADELPHIA—A look of amazement flashed across righthander Edubray Ramos’ face as he walked up the dugout steps at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and let the sights and sounds of his first day in the majors sink in.
“I never imagined this,” the 23-year-old reliever from Venezuela said. “I was out of baseball and did not know if I’d ever get another opportunity. This is a beautiful moment for me.”
Ramos earned his way to the Phillies’ bullpen in late June by recording a 1.16 ERA in 39 innings at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He gave up just 24 hits, one home run and four walks. He struck out 41.
Big league manager Pete Mackanin immediately began using Ramos in high-leverage situations and said he had the makings of a closer because of his demeanor and ability to control his power fastball and slider.
Before he was painting the corners, Ramos painted cars with his father in Venezuela. The Cardinals signed the 17-year-old Ramos for $10,000 in 2010 but released him a year later. The Cardinals closed their Venezuelan academy, and Ramos did not pitch well enough to earn a trip to the their Dominican academy.
Over the next two years, Ramos worked odd jobs, pitched when he could and even played softball. He caught the eye of Phillies scout Carlos Salas. International scouting director Sal Agostinelli saw potential, too, and Ramos signed with the Phillies in November 2012.
“The kid just wanted a chance,” Agostinelli said.
Ramos progressed steadily for three seasons in the system, then joined the 40-man roster last November and completed his journey to the majors in late June.
“He’s got fire coming out of his hand,” catcher Cameron Rupp said.
Looking back at his brief time with the Cardinals, Ramos said: “I had no knowledge of how to pitch in professional baseball. I’ve matured and gotten stronger and more confident. Most of it is confidence. I’m being aggressive. I’m attacking the zone.”
• Lehigh Valley outfielder Nick Williams was benched twice in June for not hustling.
• Low Class A Lakewood Jose Taveras, a 22-year-old righthander, struck out 15 and walked none while giving up two hits and a run against Greenville on June 25.