I would only be mildly surprised if the Mets signed their first 17 picks. There isn’t a truly unsignable player in the bunch, even the projectable pitchers. I do not think they’re signing 18th-rounder Raphael Ramirez.
Tools are the name of the game for the Georgia prep outfielder. He has plus speed that he’ll make good use of in center field and above average arm strength to go with it. He should have plenty of range to run gap-to-gap and could be a plus defender in time. He also figures to be a threat on the bases. The speed will play. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the rest of his game will.
Ramirez doesn’t have a lot of size to him at 5 feet, 10 inches and 165 pounds, though he does have a muscular, athletic frame. But he does not figure to bring any power to the plate. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from trying to hit like one. He loads his hands very deep, so deep that he bars his lead arm. It’s a swing that enhances his power somewhat, but it comes at the expense of any flexibility. With his arm stiff and his hands so far back, Ramirez has to start his swing earlier and can’t adjust his swing path on the fly to square up on breaking pitches. It’s unfortunate, because he doesn’t have the size to project as a power hitter, and he doesn’t utilize his lower body enough anyway. He really would be better served with an easier swing that would lead to more contact and less power.
Ramirez is a very talented athlete, but it remains to be seen if he’ll become a good baseball player. Unless the Mets blow him away with an offer, and I don’t think they should, Ramirez should just go to North Carolina State and try again in three years’ time. With more development he could be a first-round pick. Or he might just be an 18th-round pick all over again.