Heliot Ramos: Giants 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year
Although Heliot Ramos didn’t enjoy overwhelming success as an 18-year-old with low Class A Augusta last year, the Giants’ brass never lost any enthusiasm for the 2017 first-round pick.
Ramos responded by rewarding that faith in 2019, as the 6-foot-1, righthanded-hitting center fielder performed well enough for high Class A San Jose during the season's first half that he earned a promotion to Double-A Richmond on Aug. 9.
“Last year, he definitely had a lot of tools and showed us [his upside] in spurts,” Giants farm director Kyle Haines said. “But this year, he’s just become a much more well-rounded player.”
In 124 games with Augusta in 2018, Ramos hit .245/.313/.396. This season, in 77 games with San Jose, his slash line was .306/.385/.500. Including his first 11 games in Double-A this season, Ramos has hit 14 homers and had drawn 37 walks in 383 plate appearances. Last season, he hit just 11 homers and drew only 35 walks in 535 plate appearances.
Haines pointed to Ramos’ improved “ability to stay disciplined in the box and not get greedy" as a major reason for his success, citing an overall improvement in Ramos' plate discipline.
It hasn't been entirely smooth for Ramos, however, as a knee injury in late April forced him to miss one month. But upon his return, Ramos seemingly picked up right where he left off, recording a hit in each of the first five games and going a combined 8-for-19 with two home runs during that stretch.
“The easiest thing to do is use the injury as an excuse for getting off to a slow start,” Haines said. “But he didn’t. He just came out and was ready to go. As soon as he got back on the field, he was excited.”
A native of Puerto Rico, Ramos turns 20 on Sept. 7. Haines said Ramos figures to begin next year with Richmond after his strong 2019 season.
“He’s playing a fantastic center field,” Haines said. “He’s running the bases much more like a mature veteran, and then when you combine it with his power and his speed, it’s just been nice to see it all come together.”
— Catcher Joey Bart, the Giants’ No. 1 pick in 2018, and pitcher Sean Hjelle, their No. 2 pick last year, joined Ramos in moving from San Jose to Richmond in August. Bart hit .265/.315/.479 in 57 games with San Jose, while Hjelle had a 2.78 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 77.2 innings in high Class A.
— Lefthander Seth Corry has been the organization's top-performing pitching prospect in 2019. In 24 starts for low Class A Augusta through Aug. 16, Corry was 9-2, 1.74 with 155 strikeouts in 108.1 innings. In five starts from July 18 through Aug. 10, the 20-year-old did not allow a run in 28.2 innings, giving up only seven hits and striking out 44 batters.