Updated: April 5, 2003, 5:18 PM ETBy By John Sickels | Special to ESPN.com
When hot pitching prospects are discussed, phrases such as "blazing fastball" and "overpowering slider" are commonly used. It is possible to be an excellent pitcher without flaming stuff, but it takes a solid combination of intelligence and polish to survive as a finesse pitcher in the major leagues. Many organizations shy away from them for that reason, focusing instead on guys with terrific fastballs ... even though having a great fastball is no guarantee of victory. One reason why the Oakland Athletics have been successful over the last few years is because they are more concerned with results and skills than pure physical tools. One pitcher who should get a chance in Oakland over the next year or so is Mario Ramos, who fits the profile of the classic Athletics prospect in the Billy Beane era: he doesn't have awesome physical talent, but he gets the job done.