Giants

Giants beyond excited with Ramos' blend of skills, maturity

Giants

It's easy to forget what you were doing at the start of your junior year in college. Just look back at your cringe-worthy Facebook memories, if you still have a profile on that hellscape. Or try to remember one second of a night you cracked open a Four Loko.

Bad example, those 23.5 ounces of perfect poison should have killed us all. 

It's also easy to forget just how young Giants prospect Heliot Ramos is.

"Trust me, I want to see him in the major leagues. He would be a junior in college right now and we’d be talking about drafting him and sending him to rookie ball in 2021," Giants director of player development Kyle Haines recently said in a phone conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area. "He would just be entering his junior year of college. Anyone who has ever been drafted, if we said send him to Double-A or Triple-A right out of the gate, they’d say ‘Whoa, that’s way too fast.’

"But that’s his age group. He would have played his sophomore year of college in Double-A. That’s wild when you think about it."

Ramos turned 21 years old on Sept. 7. He looks more like a safety sprinting to smack a Seattle Seahawks running back than an outfield prospect tracking down a fly ball in center field. He would have spent the entire 2020 minor league season, if there was one, at only 20 years old and might have been the Giants' most impressive prospect the year prior.

 

In 2019, Ramos was on the same track as Joey Bart, despite being nearly three years younger than him. The two top prospects started the season together in High-A with the San Jose Giants, and then were promoted on the same day to Double-A Richmond in August. Ramos hit .306 with 13 home runs and an .885 OPS in San Jose, and then dropped to .242 with three homers and a .742 OPS in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League of Double-A. 

He was 19 years old.

"He would have started in Double-A," Haines said when asked where Ramos would have played this year had there been a minor league season. "I think probably in a perfect world he would have spent his whole year in Double-A, to be honest. I think he probably needed the full year in Double-A. This year he’s still been able to make the most out of what he’s gotten.

"Next year, we don’t know where the starting point would be but I think it still would be some Double-A to some extent. Maybe, hopefully, see him in Triple-A at some point by the end of the year."

Deciding where prospects start next season in the minor leagues will be tricky for teams. Ramos spent this year at the Giants' alternate site in Sacramento where he played all three outfield positions, but that's much different than the grind of a season against unfamiliar opponents. 

For the first time in over a year, Ramos will get that chance as games in the fall Instructional League begin Tuesday. Ramos certainly will be a big focal point for the Giants in Arizona, as he continued to impress them in Sacramento with not just his advanced skills, but also his general growth as a person.

"I just thought he grew up so much more," Haines said. "And that sounds silly, but just, in general, he really grew up. His pregame routine from spring training and into the alternate site -- I just saw this whole year he’s becoming such a mature man now and not the young boy that we first signed.

"His approach each and every day, his ability to now read pitchers and articulate the at-bat instead of going up there to hack and just run into something is just at such a higher level. I’ve seen him do things on the defensive end that I hadn’t seen him do ever in previous years."

RELATED: Giants 'super high' on Bart, who might start 2021 in minors

Ramos was 17 when the Giants drafted him with the No. 19 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Upon being drafted, he showed his self-confidence while visiting what's now Oracle Park by saying he wanted to make the major leagues in three years. That would have been this season. In a normal year, and the Giants in the playoff hunt near the end of the season, that very well could have happened. 

 

Haines won't make any predictions or put a timeline on Ramos' arrival in San Francisco. Just as the Giants did with Bart, he wants to be 1,000 percent sure the young prospect is ready for the pros when he gets called up. As far as talent goes, however, there's no reason to rule out Ramos wearing a Giants jersey at some point in 2021. 

"Yeah, I think we’d hope so," Haines said. "You never know. I think if we would have played the full year this year, maybe we have a better idea on that. Timelines are always tricky and this year it makes it even trickier."

The playoffs are full of young stars this postseason. As Ramos' journey continues in the desert, he'll do everything he can to call San Francisco his home as soon as next season.

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