If you're a young player coming into the major leagues, the best thing you can hope for is to be on the same team as a true professional veteran that plays your position, and can serve as a mentor to you as you try to assimilate yourself to a new level of baseball. If you're a catcher, you couldn't hope for a better mentor than Ivan Rodriguez.
Luckily for Wilson Ramos, that's the exact situation he has come into with the Nationals. During this September call up, he's gotten the opportunity to study under one of the best catchers to ever play the game. And according to Adam Kilgore, he's making the most of it.
Roughly one month into his Nationals career, Ramos has cherished the mentoring from Rodriguez. On his first day with the Nationals, Ramos told Rodriguez he was his favorite player. It remains his favorite moment of the season.
"He's a guy that works hard," Rodriguez said. "We have some conversation about pitching during the game. He asks me questions. So far, we've got a good communication. He comes to me, asks me questions about certain situations."
That's exactly what you want to see from a young player. Making the most of his opportunities, and not letting a chance to pick the brain of the best defensive catcher of all time pass him by. Ramos is known for his bat, but Pudge is helping him out with the other, and arguably more important part of being a catcher.
Rodriguez has taught Ramos how to call games, how to work with pitchers and how to attack certain hitters. They speak in Spanish, which for Ramos means a lot.
"I like to talk with him a lot for that reason," Ramos said. "Sometimes, we play about his country, my country. Every day, we talk a little bit about how to catch, how he likes to call the game."
The plan, is to hitch Ramos to Pudge in Spring Training next year, and let him slowly earn more and more playing time.
"Ramos will come to spring training with an opportunity to be with Pudge," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "The hope would be Ramos would get more and more playing time as the season goes next year and evolve into the No. 1 guy."
The Nationals are hoping that Ramos can evolve into the catcher of the future for them, and there is no better way to get him there than to let him learn under Pudge.