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Ramos, Gonzalez turning heads at Giants instructs

Top 2017 Draft picks lead crop putting in work in Scottsdale
MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

Heliot Ramos' professional career has only just begun. Yet the 19th overall pick in the 2017 Draft already has established that he has the highest ceiling among Giants prospects.

Ramos, ranked No. 4 on the Giants' Top 30 Prospects list, has a chance to have solid or better tools across the board, and few players in this year's Draft could match his combination of raw power and speed. After signing for $3,101,700, he made a seamless transition from Puerto Rican high school ball to the pros, leading the Rookie-level Arizona League in slugging (.645) while ranking second in batting (.348) and OPS (1.049). The lone negative came when Ramos sustained a season-ending concussion when hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 20.

Heliot Ramos' professional career has only just begun. Yet the 19th overall pick in the 2017 Draft already has established that he has the highest ceiling among Giants prospects.

Ramos, ranked No. 4 on the Giants' Top 30 Prospects list, has a chance to have solid or better tools across the board, and few players in this year's Draft could match his combination of raw power and speed. After signing for $3,101,700, he made a seamless transition from Puerto Rican high school ball to the pros, leading the Rookie-level Arizona League in slugging (.645) while ranking second in batting (.348) and OPS (1.049). The lone negative came when Ramos sustained a season-ending concussion when hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 20.

Ramos has returned to action at the Giants' instructional league camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., which opened Sept. 21 and will run through Oct. 20. He arrived four days late because of Hurricane Maria, but he quickly has made an impression on San Francisco's staff.

"We feel like we got a steal with him," said Kyle Haines, who managed the Giants' Double-A Richmond affiliate during the season and is running the instructional program. "You don't see guys capable of playing center field impact the ball like he does. He's a mature, strong young man who just turned 18.

"He's very impressive with his physical tools. I've also talked with him and he's a mature kid who wants to learn. He's energized and seems very motivated."

Ramos is just one of several interesting position prospects from San Francisco's 2017 Draft who's in Scottsdale. Second-rounder Jacob Gonzalez, the son of five-time All-Star and World Series hero Luis, finished third in the AZL batting race at .339 and fifth in on-base percentage at .418. His 6-foot-4, 203-pound frame gives him plenty of leverage and raw power, and the Scottsdale high school product continues to make strides with his hitting ability and his defense at third base.

Video: Top Prospects: Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, Giants

"He's just now growing into his body," Haines said. "He's a strong kid. As he has been working on his agility more, his third-base aptitude has increased as well. The bat is real. Between him and Ramos, we have two very good young hitters."

College outfielders Bryce Johnson (sixth round/Sam Houston State), Aaron Bond (12th/San Jacinto, Texas, JC) and Logan Baldwin (21st/Georgia Southern) are three more members of the Giants' 2017 Draft crop who have stood out in the early days of instructional league. Johnson, who led all 2017 draftees with 25 steals and placed second in the Class A Short-Season Northwest League in hitting (.329), has speed that earns well-above-average grades from some evaluators. Baldwin has similar quickness and beat him out for the NWL batting title at .342.

Bond helped San Jacinto to a runner-up finish at the Junior College World Series before placing third in the AZL in homers (eighth) and fourth in slugging (.565). He has better tools than the typical 12th-rounder.

"He told me he hadn't played much center field, and we put him there the other day and he ran down a ball in the gap like he was in the big leagues," Haines said. "He has size, room to get stronger and the ability to run with long strides. It's pretty intriguing."

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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