Now batting in the latest segment of C’s Chat is 2019 Vancouver Canadians outfielder Adrian Ramos.
The 5-foot-10 Ramos is in his second season in the Toronto Blue Jays organization after being taken in the 19th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft from Miami-Dade College. He thought he was going to be taken earlier on the final day of the draft.
“They called me and they like, ‘Oh, we’re going to call you in one of these rounds.’ And those two rounds passed by so I was like, ‘Alright.’ So I stopped watching and I just drove back to my first coach back like when I was four years old. I drove to his house and on the way there, they called me and I was pretty happy.
I thought it was pretty cool. The Blue Jays, they have always been a good organization. I know like a lot of guys. They were here before I got drafted obviously and I talked to them like, ‘Hey, how are the Blue Jays?’ And they were like, ‘They’re a pretty cool organization. They care about you.’ When I got picked by them, I was totally happy. I was feeling comfortable by the fact that I was staying in the Florida area.”
The scout who signed Ramos was Matt O’Brien who had been keeping close tabs on him early in 2018.
“Since January, my area scout told me, ‘Hey, If you put the numbers you put up last year and if you work hard, we’re going to get you.’ So I had an idea that it was going to be them.”
Deciding to Turn Pro
Before Ramos was taken by the Jays, he was set to go to Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida but ultimately chose to turn pro after receiving a $125,000 signing bonus. Initially, he had hoped to go a Division 1 school after attending Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama in 2017.
“I had to commit (to Miami Dade) because when I transferred from one juco (Wallace) to the other one, half of the credits didn’t transfer so I was not able to commit to a D1 school. I had to go to NJCAA but I always wanted to go pro. It’s everybody’s dream.”
Born in Cidra, Puerto Rico, Ramos went back and forth from his home country to the United States as a youngster.
“I moved to New York, Manhattan for about three years and then I went back to Puerto Rico and then I came back to the States for my senior year of high school.
I tell you, it was pretty cool playing high school (baseball) in the States because in Puerto Rico, they don’t play high school baseball, it’s like travel ball the whole year so it was pretty cool. I had pretty good teammates. One of my best friends (now a nursing student at University of Central Florida) was actually in the high school so it was cool.”
Attending Celebration High School in Florida, Ramos earned Second Team All-County honours in 2016 after batting .310 with a .488 on-base percentage and 18 stolen bases in his senior season.
The next step up for Ramos was heading to junior college in Dothan, Albama in 2017. Under the tutelage of former major leaguer Mackey Sasser, Ramos batted .344 with a .490 OBP and stole 28 bases with Wallace Community College. He really shone with the leather as he was an NJCAA Gold Glove Winner and was named the ACCC Defensive Player of the Year. Excelling in the outfield is something Ramos takes great pride in.
“Throwing out runners and making diving plays, saving my pitcher’s ERAs. If I don’t get any hits, nobody’s getting a hit when I’m playing.”
Ramos’ introduction to pro ball in 2018 was a success as he reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch in his first 41 games with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. That helped him put up an OBP of .402 to go along with 23 stolen bases. He did not find the transition from college to the pros to be a huge leap.
“It was very similar to college. A lot of guys throwing a lot of fastballs. They’re like trying to develop, they just do what they’re told to do. It’s not like a big difference.
Our coach was pretty hard. Scouts love players from Miami Dade because of that because he’s like if you’re do anything wrong, he’ll let you know you’re doing it wrong. He’ll make you run or roll for it. So for me, it was not a big difference honestly. (Pro ball) was probably more organized, that’s it.”
Playing for Miami-Dade Sharks coach Danny Price was a challenge for Ramos but he still enjoyed his time in Homestead, Florida.
“It was pretty cool. Our coach, he was hard. Not everybody can play for him but it was cool. Our hitting coaches, Adrian Morales and Antonio Alvarez. It was a good experience. A good team, good teammates so it was pretty cool.”
Preparing for 2019
With his first taste of pro ball under his belt, Ramos decided to focus on his right-handed swing over the off-season.
“It was just the gym. A lot of workouts, hitting-wise. I didn’t work a lot on my speed though. I worked on it but I didn’t work (on it) as much as I did than at the gym.”
The goal for Ramos was to make Vancouver his next professional stop.
“I had it in my mentality to come to Vancouver and I didn’t want to go to Bluefield because I just thought..I was going to be 21 in Bluefield…not that it’s good or bad but the place where you want to be at 21 would be here in Vancouver.”
There is one thing that makes Vancouver the place to be in the Blue Jays farm system.
“The fans. Just everything about the fans. The best place you’re going to play at. They’re always the best. Vancouver’s the best. That’s the word out from the organization that Vancouver is the best.”
A highlight for Ramos this season was his first professional home run in Canada. That came on July 14 when his two-run home run off Ignacio Feliz jump-started the C’s to a 4-0 win over the Tri-City Dust Devils.
“It was like 0-0 and he just left a fastball right down the middle so I took advantage of it. I was happy because I had been hitting the ball very well but it seems like it was right at people so when that one was a home run, it was like finally! I told the third base coach, I was like ‘Finally!’ (laughs). I knew I hit it hard but then I was like, ‘That’s far. That was like 390 (feet) that way but then I was like, ‘Oh, I got it!’ “
The approach for Ramos at the plate is to make good contact.
“Just hit the ball hard. Keep hitting it hard. There’s nothing you can do if you hit it hard but it’s an out.”
Something Ramos is looking to improve is his stolen base total and success rate.
“I’m hoping it comes up. I haven’t gotten on base a lot so that’s another fact but I’ll get there.”
Defence, speed and contact are the hallmarks of Ramos’ game.
“I would say plus runner. Good arm in the outfield, good glove and good hitter. A contact hitter.”
A Dodgers fan growing up, his favourite athlete resides outside the diamond.
“My favourite major league team had always been the Dodgers. I don’t know if I have a favourite player but I have a favourite athlete, Usain Bolt.”
It was a tough first half for Ramos and the Canadians but he believes things will get better in the second half.
“We’re happy. The chemistry is obviously way better. We’re more focused on what we have to do. We come here with a plan. We go take at-bats with a plan, pitchers are helping us on getting out of the innings so we’re working.
“I just want to get more wins. We win the second half and then get a ring. For me, if we get a ring, that’s it. It doesn’t matter if I hit .090, if we win, that’s about it because I hate losing.”
Thanks a million to Adrian Ramos for this latest round of C’s Chat. His Twitter handle is @ajoelramos. Thanks also to Media Relations Assistant Jordy Cunningham for setting up the interview.