CHICAGO—Throughout the workouts leading up to Saturday's Under Armour All-America Game, outfielder Heliot Ramos put together more inconsistent swings during batting practice than anyone else.
Ramos fouled balls off, even swung and missed. In a lineup of polished hitters, Ramos did not stand out.
But every now and then he'd connect and show impressive power to all fields. What was especially notable was how the ball carried when he stayed back and drove the ball to the opposite power alley.
But when the game began and the pitchers started popping 90-plus mph, Ramos transformed from a sometimes-awkwardly swinging bundle of potential into the standout of standouts.
It's hard to have a better game than the one Ramos put together at Wrigley Field. He went 3-for-3 and finished a double short of a cycle to be named the star of the game. Ramos didn't get a chance to try for a double as rain washed away the final two innings.
After two lightning delays, the game was called, giving the National a 5-4 win over American.
In his first at-bat, Ramos drove in two runs with a triple down the right field line. In his second at-bat he added another RBI with a single to left field in the fourth. And in his third and final at-bat of the game in the bottom of the sixth, he reached the basket overhanging the 368-foot sign in left center field.
This isn't new for Ramos. He also starred in games at Perfect Game National, hitting hard liner after hard liner. In batting practice? He was just another guy.
"I feel more comfortable facing pitchers rather than BP, and I concentrate harder," Ramos said, as translated by coach Rollie Pino.
The younger brother of Red Sox Triple-A catcher Henry Ramos, Heliot showed the kind of power scouts love to see in the game as he drove the ball to all fields. The National team ended the game with six hits. Ramos had three of them.
Ramos wasn't the only star of a game that has plenty potential first-round picks in the 2017 draft.
Righthander Hunter Greene touched 97 mph (98 on the stadium gun) to tie Tyler Kolek's Under Armour game record for velocity in a very quick first inning as the American team starter. Righthander Shane Baz cruised through a scoreless inning of his own while showing very good feel for his 82-84 mph slider.
Defensively, there were also several highlights. Second baseman Adam Hall leaped high to rob a hit. Center fielder Joe Gray managed to run down a ball hit directly over his head, leaping at the end to make an acrobatic catch. And left fielder Cole Brannen caught a fly ball that left him crashing into the ivy and the bricks behind the ivy.
"It was cool and it hurt. But it was worth it, absolutely. It took my breath away for a second but it was all good," said Brannen who added an RBI triple as well.
Outfielder Royce Lewis evened the game up in the top of the sixth with a home run to left field off of Mitchell Stone that almost left the ballpark. But all that did was give Ramos another chance to shine with his home run to take the lead back.