We’re a few days late on this, but Luca Ramirez, the son of long-time Red Sox Slugger Manny Ramirez, committed to Tony Vitello and the Tennessee baseball program last Friday night. Here’s the announcement from Ramirez, via the article on GoVols247:
“I am insanely excited to announce that I will be committing to the University of Tennessee,” the younger Ramirez said on Instagram. “Id like to thank God for giving me this talent and strength to keep working. Id (like) to thank my dad and my mother for believing in me and giving me all the support I need... Go VOLS!”
PROUD TO BE A VOL! GBO @GoVols247 @Vol_Baseball pic.twitter.com/fypJnde1sV— thelucasramirez99 (@Lucas_Ramirez24) January 22, 2023
Baseball commitments who are this talented are always tricky, as there’s no guarantee Ramirez will ever make it to Tennessee’s campus.
We saw a similar situation play out not long ago when shortstop Brady House was committed to the Vols but ended up forgoing his pledge to UT and being selected by the Washington Nationals in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft. Naturally, no one should begrudge a young man for such a decision — House’s signing bonus was $5 million. I’m sure House went and bought himself a house, right? Ramirez can either come to Tennessee and stay for three years (or until he’s 21 years old), or, like House, he can go straight from high school to the majors.
He’s a lefty from the plate but throws with his right and plays first base and the outfield at his high school in Florida. Perfect Game grades the younger Ramirez a nine out of 10 on their rating system, which comes with a blurb about what the rating means: Potential top 10 round pick and/or highest-level college prospect.
Manny Ramirez’s son commits to Tennessee pic.twitter.com/gjPQZMDQOn— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) January 22, 2023
At 6-3, 184, Ramirez still has some filling out to do, but he’s just 16 years old and in 2024 recruiting cycle.
I don’t have access to all the info at Perfect Game, but here’s a bit more about his game from the GoVols247 article:
Big and strong athletic build with some projection remaining,” Perfect Game wrote after Ramirez attended the 2022 PG Underclass All-American Games last year. “Left-handed hitter, hits from a spread stance with a big pull back load, gets his hips turned to start his swing, lifting swing with very good bat speed, plus raw power, ball comes off the barrel hard, has hitterish actions in the box. Left field/first base actions and athleticism on defense, has good footwork and takes good routes in the outfield, loose and easy arm action. Bat is his tool and it has a chance to be a good one. Good student. Named to the PG Underclass All-American Games Top Prospect List.”
A few years ago, I woulda... bet the house... on Ramirez going straight to the Draft. But things are different these days. Tennessee is one of the most prolific programs in the country, and it’s likely Ramirez would get better coaching and more exposure at Tennessee than he would at a single-A or double-A affiliate. Plus, the NIL rules level the playing field a bit with the money at stake. There’s no way he’d get $5 million to come to Knoxville, but I’m sure he’d be well taken care of. And then there’s the fact that his dad was a 12-time All-Star, played in the majors for parts of 19 seasons and is worth 90-ish million, according to a quick Google search that may or may not be explicitly accurate. So maybe money won’t play into the picture at all.
Taking all this a bit further: it doesn’t hurt that the elder Ramirez seems all in on Luca’s decision to come to Knoxville. His timeline is filled with retweets from fans and media outlets, but his one struck me as particularly interesting:
Proud of your hard hours of work, discipline, determination …can’t wait to see what’s the next chapter for you son @Lucas_Ramirez24 https://t.co/eeVXKWFK2t— MANNY RAMIREZ (@therealmanny99) January 21, 2023
There’s a long time between now and 2024, so who knows what could happen. But even as a Yankees fan, I’d love to see the son of a future Hall of Famer in the Orange and White.