The 2017 MLB Draft is 27 days away, so it’s probably time to get to writing about some of these youngsters who could be future Dodgers.
Last year, I hit on Jordan Sheffield in my profiles. Granted, I had three chances because the Dodgers had three 1st-round picks, but I still did. The year before, I whiffed on Walker Buehler (who is better now than he was when he was drafted) and Kyle Funkhouser. Before that, Grant Holmes fell to No. 22 and the Dodgers nabbed him in 2014. As a projected Top 15 pick, I didn’t write about him.
Long story short: Of the 10 profiles I write, there’s a good chance none of them will be a Dodger — just to break your heart (mine, really). But I’m gonna do it anyway.
First up is perhaps the most polarizing prospect available in Heliot Ramos, an incredibly toolsy outfielder from Puerto Rico.
6’2, 185 pounds
DOB: Sept. 7, 1999
Maunabo, Puerto Rico
Commitment: Florida International
Slot recommended bonus (No. 23): $2,702,700
Editor’s Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
The first thing you notice when looking at Ramos is his pure, raw athletic ability. He’s a legitimate 5-tool prospect. So, why is he not rated higher? Because of some concerns about his overall game, basically, but there’s a lot to like with the prep Puerto Rican outfielder.
At the plate, I’m smitten with Ramos’ swing. He has incredible bat speed and a chance for plus-or-better raw power. He’s strong, especially for his age, and uses his wrists and forearms to generate a powerful, yet compact and controlled swing. He can cover a lot of the strike zone, but his plate discipline and pitch recognition are in need of improvement. And that’s partly why he isn’t ranked higher by everyone. His hit tool doesn’t project to be much better than average, but if he gets there and pairs it with his raw power, he could be an offensive powerhouse at any of the three outfield positions.
Ramos impressed at the Under Armor All-America Game, collecting three hits, including a triple and a monster home run.
He’s a center fielder right now, but that probably won’t last. He grades out as an average at worst as a runner. He might be a tick above-average early in his career, but as he works through the minors and gets professional instruction, he’s likely to add some good weight and lose a little speed. Still, he’s plenty fast enough to handle a corner spot.
Videos courtesy of Baseball America and Prospect Pipeline (Steve Fiorindo).
John Manuel of Baseball America mocked Ramos to the Dodgers in his first projection, saying the Dodgers are looking to take a risk on a high-upside player in the first round. Ramos fits that description to a T, because if Ramos were the pick, he’d definitely be the riskiest 1st-round pick Billy Gasparino has made in his four drafts (two with the Padres, two with the Dodgers).
As a Florida International commit, he probably shouldn’t take more than the recommended slot amount to get him out of his commitment.
Heliot Ramos is one of my favorite prospects in the draft, thanks in large part to his swing. It’s hard for me to look beyond that, and I’d be thrilled if the Dodgers made him their first pick next month.