Updated at 12:15 p.m.
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
we've got in the bullpen."
Broderick, 24, went 14-7 with a 3.66 ERA in 26 games (24 starts) between Class A Palm Beach and Class AA Springfield last season. A 21st round pick in the 2007 draft, he's a control artist who uses his sinker (generally clocked in the high 80s and low 90s) to keep the ball on the ground.
Nationals scouts became particularly enamored with Broderick in the Arizona Fall League, where he went 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in six starts (three of which he allowed zero or one earned run). Rizzo said he'll compete for a spot in the 2011 rotation, though the field is crowded with pitchers who already have big-league experience.
"He's going to have to outperform them and outpitch them," Rizzo said. "It's going to be a competition at the back end of the bullpen, and that's just the way we like it. I think competition breeds giving it your best. And I think this guy is going to go into spring training with a chance to make the club."
Ramirez and Broderick, who each cost $50,000 to select in the draft, must either remain on the Nationals' 25-man roster the entire 2011 season or be offered back to their original club for $25,000. The Nats have opened a season with two Rule 5 picks only once: In 2007, when both Jesus Flores and Levale Speigner made the club.
Other Rule 5 picks in Nationals history include: Tony Blanco, Tyrell Godwin, Matt Whitney, Garrett Guzman, Terrell Young and Jamie Hoffman. From that group, only Blanco (in 2005) made it through the full season on the major-league roster.
The Nationals lost one player in the major-league portion of today's draft: Infielder Michael Martinez, who was selected by the Phillies. Martinez, 28, hit .272 with 11 homers and 56 RBI in 133 combined games between Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse this season.
The Nats also selected one player in the Class AAA portion of the draft: right-hander Michael Allen, who went 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 37 relief appearances last season for the Twins' Class A and Class AA affiliates. He's required to remain on the roster at Syracuse all season or else be offered back to Minnesota.