Friday, July 7, 2017

Community Question: Is Heliot Ramos the Giants Top Prospect?

It's a question that is always fun to ask after a draft.  Is team X's first round draft pick now their top prospect?  BA always gets a bunch of these questions and sometimes the answer is yes.  It's a complicated question because it depends as much on who is already in a given farm system as it does the top draft pick.  There is always the balance between ceiling and proximity to the majors.

Heliot Ramos is a prospect who I thought was underrated by most pre-draft rankings.  When I saw several mock drafts with him going to the Dodgers, I was not happy.  I could easily envision him shooting up prospect rankings in the Dodgers organization while us Giants fans had to be content with Logan Warmoth, a very good prospect and a lot closer to the majors, but with nowhere near Ramos' ceiling.  Ramos is a prospect with 5 true impact tools.  Those don't come around very often, especially in the Giants organization.

Young toolsy prospects often struggle in their first couple of years of pro baseball and Heliot Ramos is younger than most, still just 17 yo.  I think we can all agree rookie league stats don't mean much.  The landscape  is littered with kids who blow down the doors in their pro debut, tank and then never recover.  There are also more than a few MLB stars who struggled in their first pro season.  All things being equal, though, I think we are all happy when our favorite team's draft picks get off to good starts.  To say Ramos has gotten off to a good start is an understatement.  He and second rounder, Jacob Gonzalez, both made BA's Hot Sheet today and I don't remember the last time 2 draft picks from the same team made the Hot Sheet this soon after the draft, let along both making top 10!  In addition to the great SSS numbers, the raves about his tools are starting to roll in not that more folks are seeing him play in Arizona against pro competition.

The immediate question the Hot Sheet brings to mind, is Heliot Ramos now the Giants top prospect?  To help with that question, let's quickly review DrB's 2017 Top 50 Giants Prospects, at least the top 10:

1.  Christian Arroyo IF- There is some question whether Arroyo still qualifies as a prospect.  He has 125 MLB AB which is still 5 AB's under the limit for graduation but I saw a note that he was not eligible for BA's midseason top 100.  Even if he is still eligible for prospect status, he almost certainly won't be by the end of September assuming his hand heals as expected.  Arroyo stumbled a bit in his first MLB experience, but he's still very young with plenty of time to adjust.  I don't know about you, but although the hit tool is still impressive, the rest of his game seem just a bit limited for a top prospect.  Stock- Stable.

2.  Tyler Beede RHP- Beede still has the tools and the PCL is a very tough pitching environment but his performance this season in Sacramento has to raise doubts about whether he can take it to the next level.  Stock Down.

3.  Bryan Reynolds, OF- Reynolds has tools and has had a strong season for SJ.  He's the Giants lone representative to the Futures Game.  He's played both CF and RF for San Jose.  At this point, though, it looks like Reynolds speed tool is average at best as is power.  Stock up, slightly.

4.  Ty Blach, LHP-  Gotta say, Blach deserved this ranking and maybe higher, but he's now graduated.  Stock up, but graduated.

5.  Austin Slater OF- Slater is still a prospect and got off to a great MLB start, so you could make a case for him being #1.  He may be coming out of the "honeymoon" phase of rookiedom and he's probably not a CF at the MLB level.  He also will almost certainly lose prospect eligibility by the end of the season.  Stock up.

6.  Steven Duggar OF-  Dugger has 5 tools and had high expectations coming into the season but is just now starting to rehab a spring injury.  Stock slightly down due to injury.

7.  Andrew Suarez LHP- Great season so far for Sacramento.  May have passed Beede as the Giants top pitching prospect, but ceiling is limited by size and velocity.  Stock up.

8.  Chris Shaw 1B/LF- Giants top power hitting prospect who has raked at both AA and AAA this season.  BA has him as the only Giants prospect in their midseason top 100 at #86.  By inference, BA staff must think Shaw is the Giants current top prospect.  Despite his impressive power, Shaw is going to be limited to either 1B and LF and there are still major questions about whether he can play either position adequately at the MLB level.  Stock way up.

9.  Heath Quinn OF-  Quinn's season was delayed due to a spring injury.  He's hit well and with power for San Jose but is now back on the DL(maybe just off). Stock stable.

10.  Sandro Fabian OF-  Got some impressive buzz last year in the AZL.  Some would say he is struggling in Augusta this year but he's very young and Augusta is a very tough hitting environment.  Although his hit tool is now more established than Ramos' but Ramos other tools are on a significantly higher level.  Stock stable to slightly down.

So there it is.  Is Heliot Ramos the Giants current top prospect?  If not, who is?


  1. Your top 10 with the graduated removed plus some lower comers:
    2. Tyler Beede, RHP was good, bad, and recovering, not #1 but in the mix, may graduate to back of the rotation in 2018 IF...
    3. Bryan Reynolds, OF can you go down while playing well?
    6. Steven Duggar, OF can you move up by not playing?
    7. Andrew Suarez, LHP not #1 but he'll graduate in 2018, up a little by graduation
    8. Chris Shaw, 1B don't get too far out over your skis like we do for the unproven promise of power, but close to top 5
    9. Heath Quinn, OF ditto Duggar
    10. Sandro Fabian, OF shouldn't fall but not much of a jump, holding
    12. Joan Gregorio, RHP getting suspended is not a good career move, he was a candidate for September call up, now what? A-what-might-have-been?
    14. Dan Slania, RHP good, bad, and steady at best
    15. CJ Hinojosa, SS moving up
    16. Ryder Jones, 3B/1B probably up a little by graduation
    19. Aramis Garcia, C didn't hurt himself @ A+
    20. Miguel Gomez, 3B gotta like his 2017 AA, moving up
    46. Malique Zeigler, OF stick by our high flyers!
    HM: Kyle Crick RHP he'll get his chance until he fails but his stock is definitely UP, at least back on the chart!

    1. Remember, in a competitive business, everything is relative, so yes, a player can definitely move down while playing well if someone else is playing even better.

  2. I was wondering if you would do this after the draft and where you would put the 2017 draftees in your top 50. I personally can't drop a prospect due to an injury, unless the prospect is always getting hurt. I also usually like rank prospects higher than others would if they excel at higher levels of competition unless a prospect's physical tools project off the charts or in some cases their age compared to their competition. While it may still be awhile till we see exactly what Heliot Ramos is as a prospect, right now I could see him as high as #7 or as low as #12, for now. Higher if he continues to hit like this thru the end of the season obviously.
    1. Arroyo
    2. Shaw
    3. Beede
    4. Duggar
    5. Gomez
    6. Reynolds
    Heliot Ramos?
    7. Suarez
    8. Quinn
    9. Howard
    10. Gregorio

    1. Injuries are part of the game and a lot more players than Wally Pipp have lost jobs due to injury. Every situation is different, but I can and have dropped prospect rankings due to injury. The best predictor of future injury is past injury. Injured prospects lose development time and fall behind on the age vs level curve. Some injuries can cause permanent reductions in effective tools.

      As for Ramos, I think you could make a case for Shaw, Arroyo and Reynolds being ranked higher, but he's no lower than 4'th on my list as it stands right now.

    2. Can totally understand all of that, hopefully I will be buying his jersey for my son in a few seasons. I probably too cautious in my opinion. I'm just hesitant of ranking a prospect so high before he plays in San Jose or Augusta. Look how many first round picks don't make it in baseball. Plus I think the Giants have better top end talent in their system then they have had in a few years. So ranking him at #7 to me seemed high(ish), but I can someone ranking him at #4, or even #1 since all the Giants top prospects have shortcomings and Ramos's potential is higher than theirs.

    3. Well, I have been burned by irrational exuberance for very young prospects many times so I could be wrong again here. I'm not making an official list until the offseason, so we at least have time to see if Ramos continues to play well throughout an age-appropriate rookie league season.

  3. Interesting question. I thought a lot about it. Honestly though... It's tough and I just can't put the list together. The prospects have been massively erratic this year.

    Beede's strikeouts are poor and his WHIP is up.
    Arroyo struggled at 3B in the majors and couldn't hit a lick and hitting .400! in the PCL.
    Duggar is hurt so who knows.
    Reynolds is playing well, but he's a LFer and he's shown no power with just 10HR in 513 MiLB ABs even Slater, who is no power hitter, has done better than that.
    Suarez is an innings eater like Ty Blach. Nice to have, but not inspiring.
    Fabian hasn't shown anything in Low A.
    Gregorio finally seemed to be getting command and got caught for steroids.

    So I guess, why not? If he's a true '5-tool' prospect, he's probably the only one we have. Everyone else seems to have a below average attribute/flaw -- speed or arm or power or control or velocity...

    1. With Ramos, I think it comes down to whether the hit tool will play at higher levels, because all 4 of the other tools are there.

  4. Arroyo still #1, I believe. Definitely still a prospect in my mind, regardless of getting some time this year - kid is still 20, I believe!

    Miguel Gomez would come in above Ramos for me, but I won't be surprised to see Miguel down near #6 for most list-makers.

    Helios possibly, POSSIBLY, above Shaw in the rankings - purely for pedigree and impact potential. However, I'm VERY bullish on Shaw's tools this year and I think he's got the mental makeup to make it. You can feel the steadiness from that kid and improved his contact rate in Richmond.

    Beede fell hard this year, but is still likely the #3 prospect right now. NEEDS to make a 2nd half resurgence. (For all of our sakes...)

    Reynolds probably behind Helios by 1 or 2 slots: Hasn't shown enough power this year, and hasn't blown anyone away with a single tool just yet, though the collection of all of them seems to be very solid and complete. A Joe Panik level CFer, which is honestly wonderful. Hopefully with significantly more power.

    Either way, to answer the question. No, as of right now, Ramos is not the #1 prospect. Got to see him at slightly more advanced levels to bring that into the question - and he's just WAY too far away from the Majors to be given that right of passage. Giants have too many other top-of-system prospects right now.

    Now, where does J. Gonzalez rank?!? Likely just outside the top 10, though the Giants MiL starting pitching did a face plant this year, and there were tons of injuries to our top hitters, so now I'm not sure! Hopefully Quinn can come on hard in the second half.