SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants went for tools over technique in Monday's first round of the MLB Draft, selecting Puerto Rican outfielder Heliot Ramos with the 19th overall pick.Known for their tendency to draft players in the high rounds who are already polished -- such as second baseman Joe Panik,
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants went for tools over technique in Monday's first round of the MLB Draft, selecting Puerto Rican outfielder Heliot Ramos with the 19th overall pick.
Known for their tendency to draft players in the high rounds who are already polished -- such as second baseman Joe Panik, their first pick in 2011 -- the Giants departed from their usual pattern by selecting Ramos, a projected center fielder with a tantalizing profile.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
At 17 (he won't turn 18 until Sept. 7), Ramos ranked among the youngest players in the Draft. On the ascending 20-to-80 scale employed by most scouts, Ramos reportedly drew consistent 60 ratings for his speed, power and throwing arm. Ultimately, the Giants could not disregard his combination of youth and athleticism.
"You just don't get that very often," said assistant general manager John Barr, who was responsible for making Buster Posey a Giant.
• Giants' 58th overall pick: Jacob Gonzalez
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 9:30 a.m. PT, with exclusive coverage beginning at 10 a.m. PT.
Ramos, who bats and throws right-handed, is a product of Leadership Christian Academy in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Barr said that the Giants have monitored him for about two years. Ramos particularly captivated the Giants, Barr said, at a showcase for Draft prospects last year in Chicago.
In one game during that event, Ramos went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and lacked only a double to hit for the cycle.
"Every single time we'd go see him, whether it'd be in November or January or throughout the spring, he just continued getting better," Barr said of Ramos, the first high school position player drafted in the first round by the Giants since infielder Christian Arroyo in 2013.
Though switching from aluminum to wooden bats is a challenge for many amateurs, Barr said that Giants scouts have seen Ramos use wooden bats in Puerto Rico and are satisfied that he can make the transition.
The Giants have been allotted approximately $3.1 million to use as a bonus for Ramos, who has committed to attend Florida International University.
The Giants regained a first-round presence after forfeiting that pick in last year's Draft for signing free-agent right-hander Jeff Samardzija in the 2015-16 offseason.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.