Dec 9, 2010, 2:19 PM EDT
Updated at 12:15 p.m.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Nationals selected a pair of right-handers in this morning's Rule 5 draft, swiping hard-throwing reliever Elvin Ramirez away from the Mets and sinkerball starter Brian Broderick away from the Cardinals.
Ramirez, 23, was 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 52 combined relief appearances between Class A St. Lucie and Class AA Binghamton last season. Signed in 2006 by New York out of the Dominican Republic, he was a starter in his first four minor-league seasons but was converted to a reliever this year.
With an impressive arsenal that includes a fastball clocked in the upper 90s and a power slider, Ramirez has often struggled with his command in the minors and last season issued 5.5 walks per nine innings. Nationals scouts saw his command significantly improve while pitching this winter in the Dominican Republic; he's posted a 26-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 appearances for the Gigantes del Cibao.
"The latter portion of the minor-league season and then this winter, he's taken it to a different level," GM Mike Rizzo said. "He's a big-arm guy, a big power guy that we hope helps us in the bullpen this year. … If he did throw enough strikes, his stuff is as good as anybody
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