Straete to the Point: Heliot Ramos and Friends

Written by: Shelly Verougstraete (@ShellyV_643)

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If you haven’t heard the news, the Giants promoted top prospects Heliot Ramos, Joey Bart and Sean Hjelle to Double-A Richmond last week. Living near the Flying Squirrels’ home stadium—a stadium that’s been largely void of premium, home-team talent the past few seasons—the promotions were music to my ears. Shortly after the news broke, I obviously went to buy tickets; much to my surprise, they were soon playing four home games and facing the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, the Bowie Baysox. I had not seen a bunch of their more-interesting players, so it was my first look at several quality prospects. Instead of giving a game-by-game review, I thought I would highlight the prospects who are likely on your dynasty league radar.

Let’s take a look.

Heliot Ramos

I am not going to lie: Ramos was the guy I was most excited to see. The 19-year-old being promoted to Double-A is a very aggressive move by the Giants, and I love it. San Francisco drafted Ramos in the first round of the 2017 draft and they have moved him quickly through their system. In the first three games of this past weekend’s series, he batted leadoff. He was patient at the plate. He drew three walks in the three games but also worked deep counts in several other at-bats. He did not get his first hit until the second game, but went off after that. During the four game series, Ramos went 6-16 with one double, one home run, one stolen base, two runs and four RBIs. I was impressed with his above-average approach and batting eye. I still cannot believe he is only 19-years-old. Ramos also didn’t disappoint in the field, effortlessly making easy catches but also corralling balls on max-effort routes. It was an impressive showing, no doubt. Ray wrote up Ramos’ performance from the Futures Game last month.

Joey Bart

In stark contrast to Ramos’ debut, Bart really struggled at the plate and behind the dish. The Baysox were running like crazy and stole four bases off him and the pitching staff. Bart’s performance at the plate was not much better. He went 3-15 with six strikeouts. However, I feel that Bart was being a bit too passive at the plate. Most of the strikeouts were a called third strike instead of a swinging strike. He also looked tired and might be hitting that ‘first full professional season’ wall that some players experience (Ray had a similar take during his look at the Futures Game in July). Even with the ‘bad’ weekend, I am not moving off Bart whatsoever. No, Bart will never be a high average offensive commodity, but he should bring you a decent amount of pop from the catcher position.

Sean Hjelle

If I am being honest, Hjelle was not really on my radar to begin the season. However, a 6-foot-11 right-hander with a minuscule walk rate is certainly hard to ignore. Hjelle started his Double-A debut well, making it through his first four innings allowing only one hit, which paired nicely with three strikeouts and nine groundouts. His fastball was sitting around 93-95 with the offspeed around 85. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old’s appearance went off the rails in the 5th inning. After striking out the first batter in the frame, he went BB-1B-SB-BB-1B (two runs score)-2B(two runs score)-1B-BB-SF(1 run score) before getting the next batter to line out. While Hjelle was not pitching well in the fifth, he was also not getting much help from his defenders. There were a couple of batted balls that should have been caught, and he was BABIP’d to death in general. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Hjelle. Someone this tall without major walk issues is truly a unicorn.

Zac Lowther

Lowther pitched the last game of the series. What I like most about the 23-year-old is he does not look like your typical pitcher. He’s a big boy at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, and he throws from the left-hand side. While he might not possess premium fastball velocity (the pitch sat in the low-90s), Lowther has a pretty good curveball that is a great swing and miss pitch. During the game I sat-in on, Lowther went seven innings with eight strikeouts, two walks and four hits. He has spent the entire year in Double-A and has performed well. In 123 innings, he has a 2.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with a 25.1 K% and 12.1 SwStr%. There is not much of a ceiling for Lowther, but the floor is fairly sturdy. I have a feeling we will see Lowther throwing innings in Baltimore by mid-to-late 2020.

Dean Kremer

The main player on Bowie I was hoping to see was Dean Kremer. He is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound right-hander selected by the Dodgers in the sixteenth round of the 2016 draft. He came to the East Coast when Manny Machado went to the West Coast prior to the trade deadline last season. His fastball sat around 94 MPH his entire outing. He also had a great breaking  ball that generated a bunch of swings and misses. In fact, he made Joey Bart look pretty foolish on the breaking pitch you’ll see below.

Despite the flashes of brilliance, you can really see that his control is ahead of his command. During the game, he had ten strikeouts with three walks and only three hits. However, he was only able to five innings because he only threw 57 out of 91 pitches for strikes. I’m still pretty high on Kremer. He has the stuff to stick as a #3 or #4 starter if he can get that command down. Fellow P365 staff writer profiled Kremer this preseason.

Tyler Erwin

This guy is just weird. Enough said.

Follow P365 staff writer Shelly Verougstraete on Twitter! @ShellyV_643

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer Jerry Espinoza and


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