Wednesday, January 2, 2019

DrB's 2019 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #2 Heliot Ramos

Heliot Ramos, OF.  DOB:  9/7/1999.  B-R, T-R.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2017 Round 1, #19 overall.

2018 A:  .245/.313/.396, 24 2B, 8 3B, 11 HR, 8 SB, 6.5 BB%, 25.4 K%, 1.54 GB/FB, 535 PA.

I feel like there is a widespread perception that Heliot Ramos had a bad season in 2018.  Maybe expectations were a bit irrationally exuberant after he dominated the AZL after the draft at age 17.  But the AZL is a hitter's paradise in a hot, dry climate.  It's based at the Giants training facility in Scottsdale which is more like a resort.  All of the ballparks are within a 1 hour bus ride.  It's a short season.  Contrast that with Augusta, GA.  I have relatives who live near Augusta.  It's basically a sauna in the summer.  Frequent rainouts.  The SAL is scattered across multiple southeastern states.  It's the quintessential minor league life with long bus rides and the works.  On top of all that, Ramos was just 18 years old the entire season.  The age police may say that's totally age appropriate for the league, but 18 year olds who can keep their head above water for a full season in A ball don't grow on trees.  The Giants have had some pretty good prospects over the years who couldn't cut it in Augusta at age 19 or even 20.  Think back to Christian Arroyo and Ryder Jones.  Here is Pablo Sandoval's slash line from Augusta at age 19:  .265/.309/.322.  Miguel Cabrera reached the major leagues at age 20.  Here is his Class A slash line at age 18(Midwest League):  .268/.328/.382.

Here are my positives from Heliot Ramos' 2018:  1.  535 PA at age 18 on A ball is a huge achievement giving him a tremendous jumpstart in experience.  2.  36% XBH.  Compare that with Miggy Cabrera's 26% at the same age, same level.  3.  Lowered his K rate from 31% to 25% despite the much tougher competition and environment.

The only question I have is whether Heliot should repeat the level or be promoted to San Jose for 2019.  I have gone back and forth on that one.  I actually changed my mind while I researched and wrote this profile.  When I comped his line with Pablo Sandoval and Miguel Cabrera and realized they were both promoted and did just fine, it was clear that Heliot should be promoted too.  Recall also that Christian Arroyo was promoted to San Jose after washing out in Augusta and did just fine.  He's young enough that repeating a level won't be the end of his career, but let him repeat at a higher level if that becomes necessary.

The longer term question about Heliot is if he can stick in CF.  Scouts are divided on that.  He may need to for the bat to play.  I think he will gain power as he matures but will likely peak at about 20-25 dingers per season with more gap power than HR power.  The challenge for him is avoiding the dreaded "tweener" label.


  1. Do you mean that Ramos can't play a corner OF because he doesn't hit enough homeruns?
    Do you think the 10% drop in HRs in 2018 (even below 2016 level) was due to pitchers adjusting or was it one-off? Could it continue?
    Is "move-the-line" dead? Or has the "shift" for everyone defeated OBP?
    MLB prospects give him a 55 power, a 60 run, and a hit to all fields: shouldn't that play well in AT&T?

    1. Did I say there was something Heliot Ramos "can't" do? I think what I was trying to say is if he's going to be a great player, he's more likely to do that if he can stick in CF. At corner OF, he'll more likely be merely an above average player.

      Yes, I do think pitchers are already adjusting to the "launch angle revolution" which produces more flyballs but also leaves holes in swings that can be exploited.

    2. "Move the line" has always been a rough way to score runs. You need something in a lineup that moves the line faster like SB's or dingers.

  2. The "kid" is only 18 and has a couple of years to develop physically and mentally. He'll be fine and his power will suddenly appear in the next couple of years. Give the "kid" another couple of years in the minor leagues and he'll be knocking on the door of the Giants. Doubt there is a team in the major leagues who wouldn't take him on in a "New York Minute."

    1. No such thing as a "can't miss" prospect but, Heliot Ramos is right where he should be in his development. No reason for concern at this point.

  3. Good take on Ramos..I wasnt disappointed with him last year at alll..It was a long season and he did damn well for an 18 year old..especially the way he finished the season with some power and a floursh..I look frward to him on SJ next year but wont be surrised if the Giants take their time with him and let him get some spring ABs in Augusta and ramp up to the Cal League