So, James Ramsey was just traded for Justin Masterson, and you’re left wondering, possibly scrambling – because no one talks about James Ramsey. Is he suddenly worth something? There have been some takes that Ramsey is now the Indians second best outfield prospect. Without saying who he’s behind, we’re left to guess, but either way I think it’s an overstatement. With Tyler Naquin performing solidly at Double-A, and fellow first round picks Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer in the lower minors, Ramsey would check in fourth on the outfield depth chart for me, both in real life and in fantasy.
Still, opportunity is only one factor in a prospect’s value. Does Ramsey have the goods from a talent perspective? Is he worthwhile even in AL-Only or 20-team leagues? He’s probably worth rostering in leagues of that depth, depending some on how big the farm systems are. He’s a likely MLB talent, but the upside is fairly limited. He’s hitting remarkably well at Double-A this year, recording a .300/.389/.527 slash line, in 67 games, notching 13 home runs along the way. His skill set is that of someone who is solid across the board, though lacking in speed, and lacks the impact tools we’d look for in a fantasy prospect. His age and polish make him close to major league ready though, and just being in a lineup has value on its own.
While Ramsey’s advanced approach has carried him in Double-A, he’s still swing and missing with regularity (23.5 K%), and while he’s slugging over .500 at the moment, he doesn’t project to have near that type of power at the major league level. With the ability to play all three outfield positions, he could earn additional playing time even with a tweener offensive profile, but the ultimate result looks more like a fourth outfielder than anything else. Even as a starter on a bad team, Ramsey wouldn’t be able to muster the type of offensive production you’d look for as a fantasy starter, though he could be useful as a bench/fill-in option. While his age has been referenced as a positive in regards to his timetable to the majors, it does diminish his statistical production in the minors. Already 24, Ramsey isn’t likely to make leaps and bounds developmentally.
Ultimately, this is someone to ignore outside of the deepest leagues with the deepest rosters. As for the Masterson side of this deal, there’s not a huge change. Pitching guru Dave Duncan isn’t around anymore, and even if he was, Masterson throws a sinker already. The Cardinals infield defense is significantly better than the Indians, so that should help Masterson a bit, but he has to be healthy before any of that starts to matter. Masterson doesn’t move from waiver fodder to ownable in deeper leagues, but could be a speculative/matchup play down the line. In deeper leagues, you were likely holding on to him whether he was on the Indians or not, and praying for the best when you do plug him in.