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ROCKHOUNDS: Self-structured routine helps Midland's Ramirez succeed
Will Korn wkorn@mrt.com Updated 10:47 pm, Thursday, July 20, 2017
 
Tyler.jpg.e4af343979746ec147bbf2c256be5c5e.jpg
 
  RockHounds' Tyler Ramirez (33) hits against Corpus Christi on July 3, 2017, at Security Bank Ballpark.  James Durbin/Reporter-Telegram Photo: James Durbin

There is a saying that goes “Repetition is the mother of skill.”
Midland RockHounds outfielder Tyler Ramirez is certainly a subscriber to that mantra. It’s what has defined his baseball career and has lifted it to new heights this season. 


Ramirez, 22, lives and breathes structured routine. It has been a major factor in his meteoric rise to the Double-A level, despite being drafted just last year in the seventh round by the Oakland Athletics.


Ramirez, who spent three seasons patrolling the outfield at the University of North Carolina, hit .301 in 76 games at Single-A Advanced Stockton this year before getting the call to the RockHounds on July 2.


A noticeable jump in level and competition didn’t deter him one bit. Through 17 contests with Midland entering Thursday, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound outfielder is rolling to the tune of a .322 batting average and a .397 on-base percentage, to go along with two home runs and 10 RBI.
“I’ve just gotten into a good routine and I’m just comfortable being here, just doing the same thing every day,” Ramirez said. “I’m making the adjustments I’ve had to make and staying in that routine has been really important for me. That has been a big help.”


Ramirez credits the success to his superior habits of preparation, something he mastered playing with a machine-like Tar Heels program from 2014-16.
“It was huge,” Ramirez said. “It was a program with a lot of structure, which is what I really thrive in, is having that daily grind. I really thought it was a good system for me and it’s why I did so well. I just kind brought that to pro ball with me.
“(With Midland) it is a little less structured, so they give you more (freedom to do) what you want. But I’ve built what I want to do. So I know how to go about myself and just do what I need to do to get myself ready.”


Prior to this season, Midland manager Fran Riordan had never seen Ramirez in action. But he said the way in which he carries himself and goes about his business has been eye opening for a position player only one year removed from the draft.
“He’s bringing some consistency with his at-bats, first of all,” Riordan said. “You’ve got a guy really in a first full season of pro ball, only being drafted last year, and coming to a really high level for his experience. He’s not blinking one bit. He’s going in there and giving us three, four quality at-bats every night and battling and playing a good outfield for us. He has been a really nice surprise and it’s really nice to see the advanced approach he has shown us so far in such a short career.”


Riordan added that Ramirez’ confidence and drive are at the core of his production. Ramirez knows what works for him and he simply repeats it, day in and day out to stay ahead of an already incredibly challenging game.


“He is a quiet competitor,” Riordan said. “He has an intensity you can see that’s always simmering. He uses that, turns it into focus when the lights go on. Maybe he’s not seeing the ball really well, but he’s still going to battle in there, fight off some tough pitches and maybe bloop a single. That’s an intangible sign of what could be a really special player.”
“You can tell Tyler does have that confidence. Because of that mentality, I don’t see him blinking no matter what level he gets to.”


But as it may be easy for younger players to experience a burnout in pro ball, Ramirez said his escape is and always has been the friendships he has developed in this game.
Ramirez, a Suffolk, Virginia, native, comes from a large family of his two parents, three brothers, a sister and 19 cousins. So he has always valued the importance of camaraderie and it’s one of the reasons he fell in love with the game many years ago.


This season in Stockton prior to his promotion, Ramirez got to share the outfield with former UNC teammate and Oakland’s No. 29 prospect, Skye Bolt.
“It has been really important to just build friendships with guys and have those relationships on and off the field,” said Ramirez, who enjoys surfing and playing video games with the family. “It just keeps your mind (fresh). Maybe you had a rough couple of days on the field, but you’ve got a couple of guys to go hang out with to get your mind off baseball. It keeps the morale up and helps the other guys on the team up as well.”

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