Nats' play-by-play man Charlie Slowes called the home run Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos hit out to left field in a gusty Space Coast Stadium today a "titanic blast aided by the wind."
"The wind helped me," Ramos joked with reporters afterwards, "but not that much."
"I hit that ball well."
Houston's 24-year-old left-hander, Brett Oberholtzer, fed the Nats' 25-year-old right-handed hitting catcher a fastball then watched it sail out to left field for a three-run blast in the bottom of the first inning that put the Astros down 6-0 early in Grapefruit League action in the Nationals' spring home.
"He threw me three changes in a row," Ramos explained after the game, going back to the at bat. "And after that I said, 'Now what?' You need to be smart at that point at the plate. After three changeups, you're looking for something and put the ball in play, but he threw me a fastball right down the middle and I put a good swing on it."
Now Wilson Ramos DEMOLISHES a 3-run shot to left. Goes over the World of Beer stands and down the hill. A monster shot. 6-0 #Nats in the 1st— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) March 7, 2014
Wilson Ramos just killed a ball to Kissimmee. Holy cow. Hit a three-run shot FAR out of Space Coast Stadium. Over the stands & trees.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) March 7, 2014
He said today's home run might be the longest one he's hit.
"I hit the ball well, bro. The wind is blowing out and it helped me a little bit, but after I hit that ball, I knew, 'That ball is gone.'"
His teammates joked with him about the wind helping a little bit more than Ramos was willing to admit.
FBB's Recommended Reading:
"Everybody said something, like, 'The wind's blowing out, blah, blah, blah..."
Ramos hit a career-high 16 HRs in 303 plate appearances in 2013, one more than he hit in 435 PAs in a full season of at bats in 2011.
He returned from knee surgery and an injury-shortened campaign in 2012, but missed time with two hamstring injuries, finishing the year with a .272/.307/.470 line in 78 games over which he was worth +1.8 fWAR.
Ramos admired his bomb for quite a bit if u ask me.— Eric Bickel (@EBJunkies) March 7, 2014
Ramos then served as a DH for the Tigers de Aragua in the Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional, putting up a .309/.368/.463 line with seven doubles and four home runs in 30 games.
He said today that the extra at bats this winter really helped him get focused at the plate.
"During winter ball I played DH down in Venezuela," Ramos told reporters after the Nats' 8-5 win, "and those at bats I took over there helped me to concentrate a little bit more at the plate. To be patient and concentrate on my strike zone. And it helped me to come here, take good at bats, swing at strikes, and right now I'm working on that. I'm working on my strike zone and putting good swings on the ball and that helped me to hit the ball well."
The Nationals are counting on a big season from Ramos, but they took precautions in case he once again struggles to stay in the lineup. The Nats acquired 29-year-old catcher Jose Lobaton from the Tampa Bay Rays, but they're expecting Ramos to get the bulk of the work in what will be the former Minnesota Twins' prospect's fifth major league season.