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Alexei Ramirez Makes Strong Spring Debut

Alexei Ramirez fields grounders at shortstop for the White SoxThin is in this spring.
Evaluating major league talent in the February air of Tucson is a difficult proposition. One day in Arizona holds about as much weight as 1-14 performance in the Dominican Winter League, which is to say little-to-none, but for one day, Alexei Ramirez looked like he belonged with the big boys. Playing a reportedly solid shortstop, Ramirez went 4-5 with 2 doubles and an RBI a day after drawing a walk in his only plate appearance.

While shortstop may be Ramirez' preferred position, the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera will require him to win the open competition for the second base, where Ozzie questions his major league readiness.

"He's pretty rough at second base," Guillen said. "He hasn't played there that much. I'm going to talk to (general manager) Kenny Williams and see what we think and what we're going to do with this kid. I think he has a lot of talent.

"I'm not sure if he's going to end at shortstop or second base or play everywhere, but the first game he showed he's good and showed a lot of speed. He seems like he knows what he's doing."

Ramirez' raw talent gives the Sox many possibilities for the future.
  • He could win the starting 2B job, and shift to SS next year.
  • He could win the starting 2B job, and stay there next year.
  • He could make the roster as a super-utility man (which would require Juan Uribe to be shipped out somewhere).
  • He could go to the minors and develop into the shortstop of the White Sox medium-term future.
  • He could go to the minors and find his way to the outfield, filling the Sox "speed" requirement there.
  • He could go the minors and wash out of baseball completely
The sheer number of different career arcs makes Ramirez the most interesting player in Sox camp.

Swisher the table-setter

I didn't think anything of Ozzie's line-up Thursday, which had Nick Swisher penciled in as the leadoff man and center fielder, but Mark Gonzales points out that Ozzie is giving Swisher some serious consideration at the top of the order. While Ozzie continues to say all the right things in regards to on-base percentage, he seems far too reluctant to put Swisher in the #2 spot, where he would seem to be a natural fit in front of the Thome-Konerko-Dye trio.
"If we're going to think about Orlando and Swisher hitting leadoff, I'd rather have Swisher because Orlando handles the bat a lot better than he does," Guillen said.
I'd rather have the guy with 40-HR potential in the Cell hitting 2nd, regardless of his bat-handling ability. Nevertheless, any talk of moving Swisher up in the lineup is a welcome change from burying him with Fields in the bottom half of the order.
In other news, (wizard)