SF Giants top prospects: No. 3 — OF Heliot Ramos
Highest Level: Double-A (Richmond)
Acquired: Draft (2017)
Future-Value Grade: 50+
Since the Giants drafted Heliot Ramos in the first round of the 2017 MLB draft, he’s had the potential to be a perennial All-Star. Just from watching Ramos play, it’s easy to envision him playing running back or strong safety on an SEC football field. It’s that enticing combination of plus speed, power, and arm strength that has him consistently ranked among the top-100 prospects in baseball.
People within the Giants organization remain 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. He has very good instincts and gets strong jumps. Others in the scouting community think he’ll lose a step as he completes his maturation, leaving him with more of a prototypical right field profile.
The concern with Ramos has always been his hit tool. He’s struggled to make consistent contact at times and hasn’t always shown a willingness to take walks.
After a strong debut in 2017, he lost some of his prospect luster at Single-A Augusta. While Ramos finished the season with a mediocre .245/.313/.396 line, FanGraphs wRC+ calculations, which take into account the environment of the league, deemed his production to be 4 percent better than the league-average player (who was substantially older than Ramos).
In 2019, Ramos broke out at High-A San Jose. His early-season performance was one of the best in recent history and came alongside increased walks and decreased punch outs. Ramos was promoted alongside Joey Bart and Sean Hjelle to Double-A Richmond. While Bart exploded in the Eastern League, Ramos’ performance failed to keep pace.
His final .242/.321/.421 line with the Flying Squirrels was reminiscent of his year in Augusta. His strikeout rate jumped to a concerning 31.1%, but his walk-rate maintained the gains at High-A. FanGraphs wRC+ was once again much higher on Ramos’ production than the eye-test might reveal, recording his production to be 19 percent better than the league-average player.
The Arizona Fall League was the first time in Ramos’ career where he clearly was overmatched. In 72 plate appearances, he struck out 23 times and posted a meager .512 OPS.
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 an everyday 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. He’s younger than this year’s first-round pick Patrick Bailey and is less than a year older than Canario.
Even if Ramos needs another two seasons in the minors after 2020, he would still be just 23 years old when he made his debut. He’s been at the team’s alternate site in Sacramento and has impressed. According to one team source, He’s already launched a home run with a 111 mph exit velocity in one intra-squad matchup.