Puerto Rican Prep OF Heliot Ramos is on Padres’ Radar

Credit: Andrew Innerarity/Washington Post

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Credit: Mike Janes

The Padres hold the #3 pick in the upcoming June MLB Draft.

There is speculation that the team could select Hunter Greene, Mackenzie Gore, Royce Lewis, or Kyle Wright with the pick, depending on who the Twins and Reds select before them. Someone from that foursome will probably be selected, but you never know what A.J. Preller is thinking. There really is no certainty on who will be picked before them, so the team could go many different ways.

The team also holds the #39 selection in the draft, and the possibilities there are way more difficult to predict as number of factors could take place which will change the strategy the Padres’ front office has laid out in front of them. Of course, the first selection in the draft by the team will be a factor, but more importantly, who is being selected around them. Preller has a propensity to take high-ceiling players, so the feelings are that the team will indeed take the best player out there that fits their agenda.

In recent years the Puerto Rican baseball scene has progressed once again. At one time, players like Carlos Delgado, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Rodriguez were being produced from the island at a steady stream. In the past decade or so, the production had dropped drastically as far as top-end draft selections. Sure, players like Carlos Correa and Jose Berrios were still coming from the island, but noticeably they weren’t as plentiful as before.

The Padres are quite active in the international market, and though the players from Puerto Rico are not considered international players, they still require an advanced scouting regimen in order to determine value. Though the island is considered a U.S. Territory, the majority of its inhabitants do not speak English. Not that speaking English is a requirement for a baseball player, but it makes the ability to judge character and such more clouded.

A.J. Preller has a knack for scouting young talent. He is fluent in Spanish, and there is clearly no language barrier when it comes to the young G.M. and potential players that are Latino. The top player out of Puerto Rico right now is a toolsy young outfielder by the name of Heliot Ramos.

The right-handed hitter is 6′ 2″ and 190 lbs and is from Alfonso Casta Martinez High School in Puerto Rico. He is considered the best talent out of Puerto Rico and rates as a five-tool talent with excellent power and speed. In the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game, he went 3-3 ( a double shy of the cycle) and was the star of the show. He has limited experience with wood bats, but his game should easily transition.

Ramos has legitimate power and was discussed recently on an EVT Podcast with¬†Jonathan Mayo that the¬†Padres are “kicking the tires” on this young man and there is a possibility that they could be eyeing him with their second selection in the draft. Again, a lot of that has to do with who the team nabs with the third overall selection. Take a look at this video of the young, right-handed power hitter.

He has a great ability to generate power, and should gain strength as he is only 17 years old. His swing is low-tension as he creates a “hitters rhythm” with his stride. The swing path is smooth and the young man can get the bat through the zone with authority. Ramos can get a little too aggressive from time to time at the plate, and needs pitch recognition refinement, but again he is 17 and growing into his abilities.

Ramos has plus speed and the ability to play center field, though he projects more as a corner outfielder. He has a decent arm, but his speed and power are his plus tools. There are contradicting reports whether or not he will ever be anything more than power hitter, as he lacks plate discipline. The young outfielder is a decent student and seems well prepared to sign a professional contract rather than go to college in Florida. He recently told Wilson Ronda, the Padres area scout, “If I am not drafted in the first three rounds, I am going to college.” He has an offer from Florida International University, but everyone knows he wants to go pro, and will surely be selected within the first 100 players on Monday.

Ramos might not be the most polished hitter, but he has tremendous ability. The bat speed is there for this young man, he just needs professional tutelage. Heliot Ramos is truly a player to keep an eye on with the Padres’ second pick. Especially if the team selects a pitcher with their first pick in the draft. The Padres’ draft will be an interesting one, no matter how you look at it. Stay tuned. It is going to be an interesting week.

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