“He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed.”
Ramirez was taken in the 28th round out of Illinois State by the Rays in the 2016 amateur draft and spent three seasons in the minors with the Rays’ rookie and Low-A teams. He became the team’s bullpen catcher in 2019, providing support for a relief corps that finished in the top three in WAR in each of the last three seasons, according to FanGraphs.
“The loss of our son has been the most excruciating experience we have lived. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t see the signs. Struggling in silence is not OK,” Ramirez’s family said in a statement via the Rays, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “It is our commitment to honor our son’s life by helping other families. No parent should have to endure the loss of their child.”
Ramirez contributed more than what he did behind the plate in the Rays’ bullpen. He dabbled as a batting practice pitcher for the team and his fluency in Spanish helped him connect with and provide guidance to all of the team’s relievers.
“As we process this unexpected and difficult loss, we are grateful for the times we shared with Jean,” Erik Neander, Rays’ president of baseball operations, said.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
(Photo: Mike Janes / Four Seam Images via Associated Press)