3. OF Heliot Ramos
Acquired: 2017 draft (1st round)
Future Value: 55 (grade up)
It’s not often that a player’s grade increases while their organizational ranking goes down, but here we are. That isn’t a poor reflection on Ramos as a prospect, but more an indication of how much Joey Bart and Marco Luciano have improved.
In the midseason rankings, all three prospects were clustered close together, and differentiating their value has only gotten harder. At that point, I was highest on Ramos due to his combination of youth and success against advanced competition.
In the time since, both Ramos and Bart were promoted to Double-A Richmond and selected to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Against that next tier of competition, Bart began consistently outperforming Ramos and separating himself. Meanwhile, Luciano enjoyed unparalleled success in the lower levels of the minors.
The point being, the No. 3 spot on this list is not far from the No. 1 spot.
Regardless of how he compares to his Giants peers, Ramos has the potential to be a big-time difference-maker. His frame would fit at running back or strong safety on an SEC football field, but on the diamond, it produces a combination of plus speed, power, and arm strength.
People within the Giants organization are hopeful he can stick in center field. Given Farhan Zaidi’s background with the Dodgers, a team that has had success with unorthodox fits in center field (e.g. Cody Bellinger), it’s not out of the question. However, the scouting community thinks he’ll lose a step as he completes his maturation, leaving him with more of a prototypical right field profile.
The concern with Ramos is his hit tool. He’s struggled to make consistent contact at times and hasn’t always shown a willingness to take walks. This season at High-A, he took a huge step forward by cutting his strikeouts and increasing his walk rate. However, after a promotion to Double-A and so far in his AFL stint, both numbers have regressed.
I thought people failed to take into account the environment Ramos was in two years ago at Single-A August and I think they could fall prey to the same mistakes now. At Double-A, Ramos finished the season with a solid .242/.321/.421 line, which may seem underwhelming on the surface. However, the FanGraphs wRC+ calculations, which take into account the environment of the league, deemed his production to be 19 percent better than the league-average player.
People around the industry rave about his character and work ethic and expect him to do everything in his power to develop his hit tool. Still, whether he stays in center field could have a significant impact on his value. In center, his hit tool won’t need to develop very much for him to have a Joc Pederson like profile. That said, his offensive ceiling could be prime Yoenis Cespedes.
The San Francisco Giants have been aggressive with Ramos ever since they selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft. To that point, Zaidi mentioned that he, along with Bart, will have a chance to start next season at Triple-A.
Ramos may be struggling against elite talent in the Arizona Fall League, but don’t forget about context. He won’t be as old as Hunter Bishop is today until 2021. He has time to stall and still emerge as a future All-Star.