Every so often in the midst of your research you find something jaw dropping. Beyond the mundane five-tool wonders and somewhere in the far reaches of hypedom lies a certain rare jewel — a discovery so exciting, so breathtaking, that your first instinct is to cradle it and look over your shoulder. In writing about the St. Louis Cardinals, I have run across multi-tooled guys, hype, one-tool wonders, phenoms, busts and most anything in between.
But one thing I have never run across is the swing. The perfect swing — one that uncoils power and delivers a crack of the bat that makes you jump. Oscar Taveras has a nice swing, Stephen Piscotty has a great swing, but of all the touted minor league OF prospects, AA Springfield’s James Ramsey‘s is the best. The moment I saw him swing, I knew I had seen it somewhere else.
Of course where I saw it was on old video of none other than Mickey Mantle and his 500th home run. Most lefties swing upright, with a graceful looping arc, but Mantle crouched on his swing and had a deep back knee bend on his follow through. Ramsey, 24, was drafted out of Florida State and is almost the exact same size as Mantle. He also plays CF and is currently the best all-around CF in the system. Now in the next video, Ramsey has nearly the exact same swing.
What you can see is the same deep knee bend and uncoiling of power. He also leads all of the Cardinal OF prospects in home runs and had 11 of them before mid-May. This is not an average prospect, and indeed his abilities have been misread. Now nobody is saying he is the next Mickey Mantle; in fact, what Ramsey is doing at 24 The Mick was doing at 19. But what is possible is that the Cardinals have something very special on their hands and a player who will turn heads for many years to come.