Giants have faith in Ramos despite '22 struggles

September 21st, 2022

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado's Giants Beat newsletter To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler didn’t mince words when discussing outfield prospect Heliot Ramos’ disappointing 2022 campaign last week. 
“It hasn’t been great,” Kapler said. “We were hoping for a year that put him in the big leagues potentially regularly from the middle of the summer on. I know that was his ambition. In fact, I think even dating back to Spring Training, his thought was, 'I’m going to make an impact and stick on this team early in the season.' He just hasn’t performed enough at the Minor League level to warrant that.” 
Ramos, the Giants’ 2017 first-round Draft pick, appeared poised to take a big step forward this year after emerging as a Cactus League standout for the second consecutive spring. He was somewhat surprisingly promoted on the third day of the regular season, going 2-for-3 in his Major League debut against the Marlins at Oracle Park. But he hasn’t recorded a hit in the big leagues since.  
Ramos was optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento when Austin Slater came off the injured list on Monday, leaving him 2-for-20 over nine games with the Giants this year. San Francisco is giving several young players extended auditions in September now that the club has fallen out of contention, but he isn’t among them. Ramos’ most recent callup lasted only two days, with Kapler making it clear from the start that he wouldn’t be here to stay.

“Had he performed at a very good level in Sacramento relative to the league, he would have already gotten more opportunities here,” Kapler said. “He’s been fine in his brief showings here. He’s a very, very exciting, talented player. But when he comes here and sticks, it’s going to be because he performed very well in Sac or he got off here.” 
The Giants typically want to see young players dominate in the Minors before elevating them to the next level, and Ramos struggled to get going at Triple-A Sacramento, where he hit only .223 with a .636 OPS and nine home runs over 102 games despite playing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. 
Still, development is far from linear for most prospects, and Ramos just celebrated his 23rd birthday two weeks ago. Despite the rough year, the Giants still believe he has all the tools to develop into a core piece of their outfield in the near future. 
Ramos said he’s been working with the Giants’ hitting coaches to find a comfortable setup and stay more relaxed at the plate. He was pleased with the progress he made in recent weeks at Sacramento and believes the key for him will be to find a way to carry those adjustments into next season. 
“Honestly, just stick with the plan,” Ramos said. “Just stick with what I learned in Denver, with the setup. Just working the counts and stick with everything. Have a positive mindset and just go and compete.” 
Ramos hopes to play winter ball back home in Puerto Rico to stay in game shape and have a chance to compete in front of his family and friends this offseason, but he said no decision has been finalized yet. Kapler said the Giants are certainly open to the possibility. 
“I think it’s on the table,” Kapler said. “I think we should discuss every angle for him to come into ‘23 as the best version of himself, as the most confident version of himself, as mechanically sound as possible and with as little outside noise as possible, as well.”