Manny Ramirez Jr. looks a lot like Dad, leads IMG to tourney baseball title with grand slam

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
IMG Academy star Manny Ramirez Jr. has been hitting like a chip off the old block — IMG Academy
IMG Academy star Manny Ramirez Jr. has been hitting like a chip off the old block — IMG Academy

When the Major League Baseball campaign kicks off in April, there will not be a Manny Ramirez on a roster to be found anywhere, depriving the league of crazy antics and, perhaps, creaky-need hits. Yet, if one prep prospect continues his development apace, there may be a Manny Ramirez in The Show soon. The difference is that this one has a Jr. at the end of his name.

As reported by Perfect Game, Manny Ramirez Jr. has emerged as a star for the IMG Academy elite baseball team, a unit based out of the Bradenton, Fla., sports training academy. Most recently, Ramirez Jr. bashed his way to a .522 batting average, 15 RBI and nine runs scored in leading IMG to the Cleats Sports Classic Invitational title.

IMG is an academy program in Bradenton that also incorporates a full high school experience for its students. All the players on the IMG team go to school just like the high schools they compete against, though they do get to spend a bit more time working out and developing sports specific skills.

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Most notably, Ramirez Jr. stepped up when it mattered most, delivering a grand slam and a two-run double in IMG’s 9-1 victory against Desert Ridge (Az.) High in the Cleats Classic championship game. If there is any doubt about Ramirez Jr.'s raw power, it can probably be answered with this video of Ramirez Jr.'s other homer at the event, against Tuscon (Ariz.) High.

While Ramirez Jr. isn’t considered one of the top 20 prospects in the current senior class of 2013, he is a consensus top-250 player with plenty of physical tools. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Central Arizona Community College signee could still see his stock rise to a decent draftable position, or he could spend a year or two playing junior college baseball before trying to follow in his father’s footsteps at the next level.

Whichever path he takes, the younger Ramirez Jr. has made it clear that he’s living for the moment in his final high school campaign, as he told Perfect Game following his stunning tournament performance.

"I just love this team and we just have great chemistry together," Ramirez Jr. told the site. "We just stuck together and fought through it."

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