Cardinals pick FSU outfielder Ramsey at No. 23

Cardinals pick FSU outfielder Ramsey at No. 23

Published Jun. 4, 2012 11:47 p.m. ET

ST. LOUIS — Florida State outfielder James Ramsey
doesn't shy away from comparisons to former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. He
welcomes them.


Ramsey, selected by the Cardinals with the 23rd overall pick in the first round
of the MLB Draft on Monday night, has been compared by many draft experts to
Tebow because of his outspoken Christian faith, leadership skills and
team-first mentality.


"I think it's an extreme compliment," Ramsey said. "I've always
been a fan of Tim's, just being a man of God first of all but also how he goes
about his business. You wouldn't describe my college experience as very
conventional and that's the way Tim kind of lives his life, as well.


"There were always people saying he couldn't play quarterback, he couldn't
be All-SEC, he couldn't win a national championship, he couldn't lead a lot of
people to Christ. I kind of delight in the challenge of knowing that I can
delight in my inabilities and let God take over."


The Cardinals just hope Ramsey can someday help them fulfill another Tebow
trait: win.  The ACC Player of the Year is hitting .385 with 13 home runs,
72 runs scored, 55 RBI and 80 hits in 208 at-bats this season for the
Seminoles, who are set to host Stanford in an NCAA Super Regional this weekend.


Ramsey was a highly recruited shortstop coming out of high school, drawing
serious interest from many Ivy League schools. But he signed with Florida
State, where he played all four infield positions during fall practices his
freshman year.


He entered spring practice as an infielder before legendary Florida State coach
Mike Martin handed him an outfielder’s glove and told him he'd be starting in
left field when they played the University of Florida in three days.


"It was kind of a rude awakening because I felt like I was a big time
recruit and I hadn't played the outfield, but the next year I became the
cleanup hitter," Ramsey said. "I've always believed in myself. The
labels that were put on me didn't affect me. I'm a pretty intrinsically
motivated person. I don't worry what the outsiders believe. I know the guys in
the clubhouse have the utmost respect for me and that's what I want to


The 6-foot, 190-pound Ramsey was ranked as the seventh-best center field
prospect in the draft by Baseball America. He was the first player in Martin's
33 years as head coach at FSU to wear the 'C' as team captain. While producing
solid numbers on the field, he's liked for his intangibles and off the field
makeup just as much.


Baseball America said of Ramsey, "He's an above-average runner who might
be able to stick in center field, though some scouts question his instincts
there and doubt he could stick there in a larger home park. Ramsey has average
power, an average and accurate arm sufficient for right field but may not have
corner power.


"He's a safe bet to be a big leaguer, with scouts split on just how much
impact he has."


The Cardinals project him to remain in center field.


"We targeted James as somebody we didn't want to miss in the draft and we
weren't sure if he was going to be there at 36," Cardinals scouting
director Dan Kantrovitz said of the Cardinals’ next pick. "He has off the
charts makeup and we look forward to the negotiations and hopefully getting him
in a Cardinals uniform soon."


Ramsey hinted that signing wouldn't be a problem, saying he wants to begin his
path to the big leagues as soon as possible and is honored to join a team with
as much history and tradition as the Cardinals.


The left-handed hitting Ramsey was a 22nd round pick by the Minnesota Twins
last year but said he had unfinished business at Florida State and decided to
return for his senior season. Among the reasons he returned was because he was
the President of two different campus organizations that he didn't want to


Ramsey also wanted to finish his degree in the honors program, where he
finished magna cum laude in finance and, "really show people that you can
go back and earn your degree that nobody can take from you."


Asked about how he describes himself as a player, Ramsey said, "I may not
be the sexiest prospect. I'm not 6-4 and 220 pounds and don't run a 6.2 60 yard
dash but I feel like I have a blue-collar game and always am working hard and
finding places in my game I can improve upon.


"I do the things that you kind of look at and realize that he has moxie,
he does the things that it takes to win. He's always been the kind of guy that
is straight laced off the field and goes about his business and represents an
organization really well. I want to make guys better around me and that's the
kind of thing I think I can bring to the table."


The Cardinals made four other selections Monday night, including Texas A&M
right-hander Michael Wacha with their first pick at No. 19 overall.  They
took Stanford University outfielder/third baseman Stephen Piscotty with the
36th overall pick, third baseman Patrick Wisdom of St. Mary's College at No. 52
and Texas high school catcher Steve Bean at No. 59.


The draft continues Tuesday with rounds 2-15 and Wednesday with rounds 16-40.