Player: Milton Ramos
Drafted by: New York Mets
DOB: 10/26/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'2", 165 pounds
School: American Heritage (Florida) HS
College Commitment: Florida Atlantic
Few things get MLB teams hungrier than a slick-fielding high school shortstop in the draft. Milton Ramos has been showing off his glove on the showcase circuit for the last 15 months, taking part in events ranging from the National Underclass Session to the World Wood Bat Association Championships.
He has had more than enough exposure to show all 30 clubs what he's capable of, which is good and bad. He's struggled to hit with wood, due in part to limited strength and poor swing mechanics, but the actions in the field are going to get him drafted early.
Of course, it will take some convincing to get Ramos out of a scholarship to Florida Atlantic. Fortunately, MLB teams have the ability to do many things that colleges cannot.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Ramos is an unusual hitter; his swing would fit a power hitter who can drive the ball, but his slight build and bat path won't allow him to hit that way; starts with a wide base and hands just above shoulder level, taps his toe, lifts his front leg and loads his hands before committing to the ball; too many moving parts unless you have elite bat speed, which he doesn't; good bat speed and arm extension allows him to hit the ball into the gap, but contact is going to be a problem with that swing.
Due to Ramos' thin stature, as well as the problems with his swing, power is going to be hard to come by; not naturally strong and doesn't have the ability to generate a lot of backspin, meaning any power in the bat will be limited to gappers and plus speed to take an extra base whenever possible.
Plate Discipline: 35/45
In addition to his unusual swing, he has work to do in recognizing pitches; gets caught on his front foot too often, which isn't just a product of drifting out early; velocity will give him problems because he can't catch up to it, while quality off-speed stuff is going to induce a lot of weak contact.
Ramos has consistently shown plus running times, and he also gets out of the box quickly, giving him the ability to beat out some infield hits; not an elite runner but certainly fast enough to monitor on the bases and in the field.
All the tools are there for Ramos to be a plus defensive shortstop, even ranking among the elites in the game; range is as good as anyone in the class, with that speed helping him cover a lot of ground to either side with tremendous instincts and footwork that help the range play up; arm isn't great for the position, but a quick release and positioning get the ball where it needs to be in a hurry.
The key to Ramos' throwing success is getting rid of the ball quickly; is never going to have more than above-average arm strength but knows how to put himself in a spot where it plays better than that; gets his feet set quickly and has a quick, accurate release to put the ball on point.
MLB Player Comparison: Brandon Crawford
It's lofty praise to compare anyone, especially a high school shortstop, to Brandon Crawford, who is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. The arm strength is a huge advantage for Crawford, but the other tools grade out similarly with plus-plus range being their hallmark. Offense isn't a huge part of either player's game, but even if they hit an empty .240-.250, they will start for a long time because of their gloves.
Projection: Average shortstop on first-division team
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 80 percent
Even though Ramos may have to wait longer than a lot of plus defensive shortstops, it's in his best interest to get into professional baseball right away. He's not without offensive ability, but pro coaching is the best way to bring it out. Spending three years in college isn't likely to help him because it's a small-ball style due to the different bats.