SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants do not pick for need in the Major League Baseball draft, they pick the best player available. It just so happened that those two things matched up in the first round Monday.
The Giants selected Heliot Ramos, a 17-year-old outfielder from Leadership Christian Academy in Maunabo, Puerto Rico with the 19th pick in the draft. Giants vice president and assistant GM John Barr, who oversees the organization’s drafts, said Ramos stood out because of his power and speed. Barr thinks Ramos can stick in center field, with the potential to grow into a “five-tool player.”
“We’ve been watching this player the last two years (and) every time we’d see him he’d continue getting better,” Barr said. “You just don’t get a chance to get a player of his athleticism and how young he was. You don’t get that very often, and we thought it was the right time to take him when he was there.
“He already shows power but yet he’s very young. He can run. As he matures into his body and continues to mature into his body, we feel we may have something special.”
The Giants have been waiting years for that type of player, although Ramos, one of the youngest players in the draft, will certainly need plenty of time to develop. He will not turn 18 until September. Ramos is listed at 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, and he bats and throws from the right side. He has an older brother, Henry, who is a Triple-A outfielder for the Dodgers, and another brother plays professional soccer.
This is second straight year the Giants have selected an outfielder with their top pick. They chose Bryan Reynolds in the second round last season and he’s currently having plenty of success in High-A, alongside third-round pick Heath Quinn. Chris Shaw, a supplemental round pick in 2015, has also moved to the outfield and has reached Triple-A.
Barr said the picks are not part of a larger plan for an organization that has had to rely on importing outfielders over the past decade.
“It just came down to how the draft boards fell for us this year and also last year,” he said. “I don’t think we thought Reynolds was going to be there last year when we made our selection. This year we just had Ramos as the highest rated guy on our board at the time it was time for us to pick.”
With their second round pick, No. 58 overall, the Giants took Jacob Gonzalez, a third baseman from Chaparral High in Scottsdale. Jacob is the son of Luis, the longtime Diamondbacks star.
Gonzalez is listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, and he has a power profile. On MLB.com’s broadcast, it was noted that he might eventually outgrow the position and end up at first base or in left field. Gonzalez is currently committed to play college ball at TCU.