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The View from Behind the Backstop: Milton Ramos

The Mets' 2014 third-round pick is off to a hot start in Kingsport. Let's check in on the highly regarded shortstop.

Gordon Donovan

Milton Ramos

IF, Kingsport Mets (R)

Height, weight: 5'11", 158
Age (2015 season age): 19
Acquired: 3rd round, 2014 ($750,000)
Date(s) seen: 6/27-6/28 vs. Bluefield Blue Jays: 3-9, 3 R, 2 RBI
2015 so far: 151 PA, .254/.293/.331

At the plate

I like Ramos's swing a bit more than I expected. He uses a short leg kick for timing and a bit of drive, but stays pretty level. He does have only one gear right now, and it leans more towards the "grip it an' rip it" end of things. There is bat speed there, and he gets more pop out of his bat than you'd think given his size. However, he often ends up starting too early on off-speed stuff. I don't know that he will ever hit for a high average, but I think he will get stronger as his pro career goes on and will be able to control that bat speed a bit better and develop 10 home run power. That's nothing to sneeze at for a shortstop.


Current Grade: 20 (Well-below average/.200 BA)

Future Grade: 40 (Below-average/.240 BA)

Raw Power

Current Grade: 30 (Well-below-average)

Future Grade: 50 (Average)

Game Power

Current Grade: 20 (Well-below-average/0-3 HR)

Future Grade: 40 (Below-average/~10 HR)

In the field

Baseball America had this to say before the 2014 draft:

"Ramos is far and away the best defensive shortstop in the class. He has special hands and is a magician with his glove. He has first-step quickness and lateral range to both sides, and his physical attributes play up due to strong instincts and baseball intelligence. His arm is a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale and plays up because of his quick transfer and release. He has a loose arm and throws accurately from many different angles."

Ramos definitely has the potential to be a good defensive shortstop, but this was more like the guy Baseball America had sitting 91-94 before the draft showing up at 89-92 in the pros (this happens often by the way). Ramos is a decent athlete with good instincts in the infield, but everything is a bit mechanical right now. He's good on balls to the backhand, but can look a little rough on balls hit right at him. He looks like he is thinking through his transfer and footwork at times, which should become more natural with more experience.

He can be a little loose in the field, late covering second on a steal once, a couple relay throws with a bit of a lollipop to them. And to that last point, on raw strength the arm is only solid-average and plays down at times when he isn't quite mechanically right. He has all the tools to be an everyday shortstop defensively, but it is going to take some time. He certainly isn't as polished with the glove as Luis Guillorme was at this same level last summer.

Glove (SS)

Current Grade: 35 (Well-below-average)

Future Grade: 50 (Average)


Current Grade: 50 (Average)

Future Grade: 55 (Solid-average)


Current Grade: 50 (Average)

Future Grade: 45 (Fringe-average)

The optimistic projection

50: Average major leaguer/second-division starter

The likely outcome

40: Utility/bench infielder

.240, 10 bombs, and average defense is probably not going to set the comment section aflame with passion, but that's a quality major league player at shortstop nowadays. It's basically (not making a comp here) pre-2015 Brandon Crawford. If you wanted to put a future 55 on Ramos's glove, I wouldn't quibble. I just didn't see quite enough in this look to go there yet. I do think the bat will take longer to get there, and if he can't make enough contact against better arms to make some of the pop play, he may project more as a bench player. But if you can play a good shortstop, you will remain employed in baseball for a long time in some capacity.

What to look for during the 2016 season

Ramos has had no trouble with Appalachian League pitching so far, and if that continues, I'd expect him to get a full-season assignment in Savannah next year. He will see a lot of experienced college arms in that league, so it will be a good early test for the bat, though I'd expect him to need some adjustment time. I'm less concerned about the glove, and a full season of reps at shortstop should give us a better idea of how good a defender he could be.