After earning a promotion to Double-A Richmond at the end of 2019, SF Giants outfield prospect Heliot Ramos was seemingly knocking on the door to the big club. What are the chances we see him in 2021?
Without a minor league season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SF Giants outfield prospect did not get a chance to take the next step up the ladder to Triple-A.
That said, Ramos did get some experience through live games while working out at the alternate training site in Sacramento and through the instructional league this fall, so it was not a lost year of development. Despite this, he did miss some time during instructional league due to an oblique injury.
The 2019 season was a strong year for the right-handed bat. He began the year in Single-A San Jose as part of an aggressive assignment at just 19 years of age, but the advanced competition did not phase him.
Across 338 plate appearances, he slashed .306/.385/.500 with 13 home runs, 18 doubles, and 40 RBI. As a draft prospect, the outfielder was known as being aggressive at the plate, and the Giants challenged him to improve on his patience and plate discipline. He excelled in that area as he posted a solid 9.5 percent walk rate against a 25.1 percent strikeout rate.
His performance in the California League earned him a promotion to AA-Richmond along with Joey Bart near the end of the 2019 season. The Eastern League is known as a tough offensive environment due to the cold and wet climate compounded by the expensive ballpark dimensions.
This did not phase Ramos as he posted a .242/.321/.421 line (119 wRC+) with three home runs and 15 RBI in 106 plate appearances. With a 9.4 percent walk rate, he continued to show good selectivity at the plate.
Following that season, the former first-round pick did earn a trip to the Arizona Fall League where he struggled to the tune of a .512 OPS in 65 at-bats, but it was still a good experience since he got reps against top pitching prospets.
Sadly, we did not get to track his development in 2020. However, the minor league season will return in 2021 and Ramos could begin the year in Triple-A. The question is will the outfield prospect debut at Oracle Park at some point this summer?
Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has proven to be aggressive with promotions, so if his production forces the Giants’ hand, then it is very possible.
However, playing time would need to open up as San Francisco would not promote Ramos just to sit on the bench. Currently, the Giants plan to employ Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Darin Ruf, Austin Slater, and Mauricio Dubon in the outfield. Furthermore, Steven Duggar and Luis Alexander Basabe will serve as depth options.
For Ramos to get promoted, an injury and subpar performance from the top five options listed above would need to occur. The 21-year-old is going to force the issue in 2021, and likely would have done so in 2020 had there been a minor league season. I would put the odds of us seeing Ramos at 70 percent, but with the caveat that it will likely be a late-season promotion. Still, he would be another infusion of young talent that the Giants have begun.