PONY and Baseball Factory Alums, Evan Marshall and Neil Ramirez Look to Help Struggling Indians Bullpen
Early in their baseball careers, both of these Indians’ relievers played PONY baseball and attended Baseball Factory events. Now, 12 years later, Evan Marshall and Neil Ramirez are doing their best to resurrect a diminished Cleveland bullpen.
After being recalled from Triple A Columbus on May 3rd, Evan Marshall pitched four games out of the pen for the Tribe. He threw 2 2/3 innings, striking out three and giving up two runs. Marshall, on May 20th, was just recently optioned back down to Columbus after the Indians recalled veteran Melky Cabrera to give them more depth in the outfield.
Coming out of Kansas State, Marshall was taken in the fourth round by the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2011 MLB Draft. While in the Diamondbacks’ system, he would play in four levels over three years, including three his first year (A+, A-, AA). Marshall would make his major league debut in 2014, he went 1 1/3 innings, struck out two, and picked up his first win. He finished out that year pitching in 57 games, posting a 2.74 ERA.
Marshall would start the next two seasons in the Minors before being recalled to the Big League club each time. However, during his 2015 season he would have a minor setback. While pitching for the Reno Aces (Arizona AAA) Marshall was struck in the head by a come backer. He needed neurosurgical treatment in relief of his “intra-cranial pressure” from his skull fracture.
Marshall was then designated for assignment and missed an entire season and then claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners in 2017. That season, he pitched in six games (7 1/3 innings), striking out six. After the 2017 season, Marshall elected free agency and signed with the Cleveland Indians on November 30th. Marshall has pitched in just four games this season, posting a 6.75 ERA in 2 2/3 innings before being sent down to Triple-A Columbus. He’s making a case for recall however, posting an 0.84 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 10 2/3 innings.
Growing up in California led Marshall to play Santa Clara PONY baseball and attend a 2006 Baseball Factory National Team Tryout in Northern California. Two years later, he was invited and played in the 2008 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, where he played for PONY.
One of Marshall’s counterparts in the Cleveland bullpen, Neil Ramirez (below), is in his first year with the Indians as well.
As a young player in Virginia Beach, Ramirez played PONY baseball for his town of Kempsville. In 2007, he was named the Gatorade Virginia Baseball Player of the Year. In the years prior, Ramirez played for Team One South in 2005. After committing to play baseball for Georgia Tech, Ramirez was drafted in the first round of 2007 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. From there, he decided he would continue to pursue his dream and signed his first professional baseball contract.
Ramirez spent six years in the Rangers’ farm system before he was a part of the Matt Garza trade, which sent him to the Cubs. He would reach as high as Triple A twice with the Rangers before the trade. Ramirez played eight games of Rookie and Triple A ball prior to making his MLB debut with Chicago. During his rookie season, he threw 43 2/3 innings, struck out 53 batters, and maintained a 1.44 ERA in those 50 appearances.
He pitched two more years for the Cubs before being claimed off waivers by their division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers. Ramirez had a rough two games with Milwaukee and would then be claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins in June of 2016 and finished the year out with them. After making stops with the Giants, Blue Jays, Mets and Nationals organizations, Ramirez elected free agency entering into the 2017 offseason.
On the same day Cleveland signed Evan Marshall, November 30, the Indians also signed Ramirez and they have both been with the organization since.