Last Sunday night at Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, Ranfi Casimiro pitched two perfect innings in relief to hold a 2-2 tie. His Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League would score two runs in the top of the ninth which was enough to win the Gold Cup in the first annual Serie de las Americas, 4-3, over the Cardenales de Lira of the Venezuela Winter League.
Then, Friday night, Ranfi made his fourth start in November and pitched five shutout innings for the second time in a DWL game. This time it was against Leones del Escogido in a game eventually won by his Aguilas team. He lowered his ERA to 1.89 and his WHIP to 1.00 in the DWL.
Its been quite a month of November for Casimiro. He has made four starts in the DWL and threw two innings of middle relief in the Miami tournament to pitch 21 innings of outstanding baseball allowing runs to be scored in only two of those innings.. He has given up 4 earned runs, 13 hits, walked only 6 and struck out 14 in the month. Opponents are hitting only .191 against him in the DWL. He has one of the lowest earned run averages and WHIP of any pitcher in the offseason leagues this month.
He has been especially impressive in his last two outing where he struck out two and induced four soft contact ground ball outs retiring all six batters he faced on Sunday in his relief appearance and came back Friday night to pitch five shutout innings allowing only two hits in his fourth start of the month.
What the future holds Casimiro remains to be seen. He finished the 2015 minor league season in the second half strong going 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA for Lakewood in the South Atlantic League. Now his ERA in 21 innings of offseason ball is 1.71 for November. He has become one of the top pitchers in the 2015 offseason leagues.
The problem is the Phillies have not protected the 23-year old Casimiro from the December 10th Rule Five Draft which they could have done by placing him on the 40- man roster. Currently the Phillies 40-man rosters numbers only 37.
He has pitched in the Phillies organization for five years which appears to mean Casimiro becomes available to another MLB team for $50,000 in the draft as long as he remains on its 25-man major league roster for the 2016 season. The Phillies do have the first pick in the Rule Five Draft though.
Ranfi has pitched in the Phillies organization since signing as an eighteen-year old free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Baseball Betsy and I have followed his career ever since his days pitching for the GCL Phillies back in 2013.
Whatever happens we wish the best for Ranfi because he is a high character guy. The way he has pitched especially in November, he is earning an opportunity to pitch in MLB someday. He just might get it sooner than any one of us would have thought to pitch again at Marlins Park. This time in a MLB game.