The SF Giants made a flurry of roster moves on Friday, including promoting top catching prospect Patrick Bailey. However, progress was halted for a former top prospect as Heliot Ramos was recalled and placed on the 60-day injured list.
Is the 2023 season going to be a lost one for SF Giants outfield prospect?
When the Giants selected Ramos in the first round of the 2017 draft out of the Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico, he was considered one of the better prospects in the game. For years, the outfield prospect was highlighted on top prospect lists, ranking as high as No. 32 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2021 season.
To his credit, Ramos matched the hype by performing well at each level despite consistently facing off against older competition. That is until he reached Triple-A in 2021.
Some development curve was to be expected as he posted a .722 OPS with four home runs in 229 plate appearances while being one of the young players in the Pacific Coast League that year. The Giants hoped that these relative struggles would be a springboard for him in the ensuing seasons.
However, that has not been the case. The 23-year-old has struggled badly in Triple-A, registering a .244/.313/.367 line with 17 home runs, 87 RBI, and 101 runs in 779 plate appearances across three seasons. This includes a 7.9 percent walk rate against a 24.5 percent strikeout rate.
For years, the Giants had preached plate discipline with Ramos, and at times, it seemed as if he was making progress. However, he has struggled to control the strike zone against advanced pitching and it feels like that is no longer a focus for Ramos at the plate.
That is not the only thing Ramos has struggled with in the batter's box. The right-handed bat has consistently made hard contact, but he has struggled to lift the ball as his ground ball rates have hovered too close to 50 percent.
The Giants have worked with Ramos on this. Opening up his stance has been one change he has made that has led to marginal improvements in terms of impacting the ball at the right angle.
Despite the changes and tinkering, the outfield prospect has tallied a .400 OPS with two doubles in 49 sporadic at-bats in the majors. It is clear that he has fallen down the depth chart, especially with Luis Matos inching closer to the majors. Now, Ramos is on the 60-day injured list with an oblique strain that will keep him on the shelf for much of the remainder of the season.
Despite the fact that the farm system it beginning to feed the major league roster, this has been a tough turn of events for a former top Giants prospect.