When the Giants selected Heliot Ramos with their first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, one year ago on June 12, he was unlike any other pick of the past. The 17-year-old Puerto Rican was the high upside, five-tool player San Francisco's front office coveted for years.
“We’ve been watching this player the last two years (and) every time we’d see him he’d continue getting better,” Giants vice president and assistant GM John Barr said at the time of the selection. “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.”
Before he could buy a lighter at a gas station, Ramos spit out as much confidence in himself as the Giants were, saying he wants to be in the majors in three years. And then, he lit the Arizona Rookie League on fire.
Right from the start, Ramos looked like the future star the Giants envisioned. In his first Rookie League game, Ramos hit two doubles and a triple. The next game, Ramos knocked another two doubles and casually upped the ante with a home run, too. Ramos’ first professional season was full of ups but ended with a down. A concussion cost the top pick the end of rest of the season after 35 games. Those 35 games, though, were eye-opening.
The No. 19 overall pick ended his first year as a pro at 17 years old with a .348 batting average and 1.049 OPS. Ramos hit six home runs, six triples, 11 doubles, and stole 10 bases. All five tools were on display in the desert.
Jumping up to Class A with the Augusta GreenJackets at such a young age hasn’t been quite as easy for the Giants’ top prospect. His slash line of .227/.303/.365 may be a disappointment to many and still, when looking at someone with so much talent, there’s positives to find.
After a month to forget in May, June has been kinder to the center fielder. The numbers are far from perfect, yet June has been his best month of the season so far. In 11 games, Ramos is slashing .244/.311/.366 and all three facets are season highs for a month.
Now that he can buy fireworks for the Fourth of July, let’s not forget about Ramos’ age. The 18-year-old is the youngest player on Augusta and you can count on one hand how many players have yet to turn 19 and are playing in the South Atlantic League.
The Giants went with Ramos one pick ahead of the Mets calling left-handed pitcher David Peterson. Through 12 appearances in two seasons, Peterson has been dominant on the hill with a 1.86 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. If you want to compare the two, Peterson is four years older than Ramos at 22, spent three seasons as a Duck in the Pac-12 and is suiting up just one level higher at Advanced Single-A. Put another way, don’t compare the two — at least not yet.
Ramos is ranked as the baseball’s No. 54 prospect by MLB Pipeline, No. 75 by Baseball America and No. 89 by FanGraphs. While it will always be a lofty goal for Ramos to reach the majors three years after the Giants took him with their top pick in 2017, one year later, it looks like Ramos’ road to San Francisco will see a lot more green than red to one day wear orange and black.