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Ramsey soaking it in at winter development program

Outfielder among Tribe prospects at Progressive Field to train, get to know staff and city
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- James Ramsey was glad it rained on the day he was traded to the Indians last season. The inclement weather wiped away Double-A Springfield's game and gave the young outfielder the chance to board the team bus for one last ride with his teammates and coaches.

"That's what means the most," Ramsey said. "Your relationship with the guys and the coaches who have invested in you. I got a little bit of time with them before I headed out."

CLEVELAND -- James Ramsey was glad it rained on the day he was traded to the Indians last season. The inclement weather wiped away Double-A Springfield's game and gave the young outfielder the chance to board the team bus for one last ride with his teammates and coaches.

"That's what means the most," Ramsey said. "Your relationship with the guys and the coaches who have invested in you. I got a little bit of time with them before I headed out."

His time with the Cardinals' organization is all in the rear-view mirror now.

On Tuesday, Ramsey was in the visitors' clubhouse at Progressive Field, where he and a dozen other Cleveland prospects are taking part in the organization's annual winter development program this week. The event includes a long list of guest speakers and gives the players an opportunity to train at the ballpark, while getting to know the team's staff and the city of Cleveland.

The 25-year-old Ramsey had a two-month introduction to the Tribe with Triple-A Columbus after being acquired from St. Louis in exchange for sinkerballer Justin Masterson on July 30 last year. This week, the outfielder got to shake the hand of Indians manager Terry Francona, who will get a close look at Ramsey as a non-roster invite during the team's Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz.

Video: Jim Callis on Indians acquiring Ramsey 

Ramsey is appreciative of all the opportunities Cleveland has given him since the trade.

"I had a good six weeks in Columbus," Ramsey said, "so starting out, I got to be real comfortable with the way things are done in this organization. But this is just another step, another opportunity to get to know people better and make a first impression on the staff you haven't met before."

The Indians have had their eye on Ramsey since at least the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, when Cleveland took outfield prospect Tyler Naquin with the 15th overall pick. Eight selections later, St. Louis grabbed Ramsey out of Florida State University. With Masterson in the final year of his contract last season, the Indians seized the chance to reel in a highly-touted prospect.

Ramsey is ranked fifth among Cleveland's prospects by MLB.com.

"Obviously, it's always tough to lose a guy like Justin," said Carter Hawkins, the Indians' director of player development. "But to get a guy like James, who you feel like can impact your Major League team soon and impact your Major League team for a long time, that's an opportunity that's pretty difficult to pass up on."

Ramsey received a taste of Triple-A with St. Louis in 2013, but the loaded outfield depth chart led to a trip back to Double-A Springfield last season. He took that development in stride and hit .300 with 13 home runs, 28 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs and a .916 OPS in the 67 games. Ramsey missed six weeks between May and June with an abdominal injury, but still ranked sixth in the Texas League in homers at the time of the trade.

After being sent to Cleveland, Ramsey moved up the ladder to Triple-A Columbus, where he hit .284 with three homers, 13 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and an .833 OPS in his final 28 games of the season. Overall, the lefty-swinging outfielder posted a .295/.382/.509 slash line in 95 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

The trade to the Indians hardly blind-sided Ramsey, who heard rumors in the weeks after he suited up for Team USA in the XM Futures Game.

"I wasn't really reading anything that was out there," said Ramsey, who can play all three outfield positions. "But, just in conversations you're having with guys in the front office, your agent and whatnot, I knew there was a possibility of it happening. So, when it did happen, I wasn't really sure the exact trade, but I wasn't really surprised."

Ramsey -- likely ticketed for Triple-A Columbus again -- is looking forward to getting to Arizona to continue his path to Cleveland.

"You talk to the coaching staff here. You talk to the front office," Ramsey said. "They are expected to promote from within and that's fun, because you know you're going to have a chance to help this team win in any way you can. That's this whole offseason for me. It's been based off going and having a great spring and whatever happens after camp, just turning in another good season."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.

Cleveland Indians, James Ramsey