Giants first-rounder Ramos reminds skipper of Cespedes
Near 500-foot blast, body type, style of play prompt comp from former coach of Mets star
By William Boor
As soon as the ball left the bat, Hector Borg knew it was a home run. But what he also realized was that he was watching a special player, a unique talent and perhaps a future All-Star.
Borg, the manager of the Rookie-level AZL Giants, was instantly reminded of another talented slugger when he watched Heliot Ramos, the Giants' No. 4 prospect, crush a homer against the AZL Reds on July 20.
"That homer reminded me of [Yoenis] Cespedes," Borg said. "I remember, I was coaching third base for the Toros [del Este], Cespedes played for Aguilas [Cibaenas] and I remember, Cespedes, he hit it over the [back wall] in left field in Santiago. And when I saw Heliot hit that ball, right away I went, 'Man that reminds me of Cespedes' homer in the Dominican.'"
While Cespedes has hit his fair share of tape-measure shots, Ramos is still learning to tap into his raw power as he further develops his approach at the plate. However, on that night, the Giants' first-round pick certainly showed the potential of a future power hitter.
Ramos took an 82-mph pitch and hit it 473 feet with a 32-degree launch angle and an exit velocity of 110 mph. In simplest terms, he absolutely crushed it.
"He hit it out of the ballpark, out of the stadium," AZL Giants hitting coach Billy Horton said. "He's a five-tool type guy who can do everything."
And so far, Ramos has. Through 21 games, he has posted a .374/.412/.670 slash line with three homers and 16 RBIs. Ramos has hits in 18 of those games and just had a 16-game hitting streak come to an end on Tuesday.
"He's a very aggressive hitter and like most of our players, you throw him a fastball and he's going to get after it," Horton said. "He goes out there and has fun and he plays fast."
Ramos had some of the best tools in the 2017 Draft class, and although he still needs some polish to his game, his offensive approach and skill set has impressed thus far.
In fact, Ramos has looked so good that his manager is already calling him the best Puerto Rican player the organization has had in the past decade and a half.
"I believe Heliot Ramos is the best Puerto Rican player that we have had in the last 15 years in the United States," Borg said. "I've been in this organization 15 years total -- as a player, coach, manager -- and I don't even hesitate to say that, I've been in the organization long enough."
Ramos' 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame is what initially caught Borg's eye and prompted the Cespedes comparison. But the more he watched him, the more he realized that initial assessment wasn't all that far off.
"They have the same type of body, strong body, same type of player," Borg said. "I know Cespedes is more of a free swinger. I believe Heliot can be more solid, but when you hit a 400-plus homer like that at 17 years old, there's something special there."
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.