White Sox: Top 5 international signings in the amateur draft era

Alexei Ramirez, L, and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Alexei Ramirez, L, and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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White Sox
Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

128. . SS-2B. Chicago White Sox. Alexei Ramirez. 3. player

Alexei Ramirez was already a veteran of seven seasons in the Cuban National Series before he defected to the Dominican Republic in September 2007. By the time he left Cuba after the 2006-07 season, Ramirez was the top slugger in the country, hitting 20 home runs in 89 games while slashing .335/.437/.574.

The Chicago White Sox signed the 26-year-old Ramirez in January 2008 and he immediately found himself in the lineup, making his debut on opening night in 2008, playing center field against the Cleveland Indians. He would up starting 117 games at second base that season and finished second in the Rookie of the Year race behind Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox.

The White Sox won the American League Central that season, beating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 in a one-game playoff in Chicago, but were bounced in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.

Ramirez was never quite the slugger in the majors that he was in Cuba, but he did belt 109 homers in his eight seasons with the White Sox, including a career-high 21 as a rookie, when he also had a career-best 77 RBI.

Ramirez clubbed 39 doubles and stole 30 bases in 2013 and made his lone All-Star appearance in 2014, going 1-for-2 in the AL’s 5-3 win at Target Field in Minneapolis.

He became a free agent in November 2015 and signed with the San Diego Padres, but was released in early September 2016 and finished his major-league career with the Rays to close out that season.

Unsigned as a free agent after the 2016 campaign, Ramirez made a comeback with Diablos Rojos del Mexico in both the Mexican spring and autumn leagues, slashing .303/.359/.418 in 93 games before retiring for good at age 36.

Over his eight seasons with Chicago, Ramirez slashed .273/.310/.399 in 1,226 games, hitting 109 homers with 542 RBI in 4,999 plate appearances. He fanned 587 times and drew 242 walks while scoring 563 runs and swiping 135 bases.