It’s the time of year where fans get irrationally excited about prospects. Which means it’s also the time of your where fans get sad when they realize that said excitement is, indeed, irrational.
I would like to encourage you to do the former and not the latter. Be excited. Be irrationally excited. It is entirely rational to be irrationally excited. Specifically, I would like you to be irrationally excited about outfielder Heliot Ramos.
In order to tell you why you should be excited, let me first make clear what your concerns are. You may already be cognizant of these concerns, or they may be subconscious, but they’re there.
Ramos is almost unanimously seen as the Giants third-best prospect. Four years ago, the Giants top prospect — per Fangraphs — was Bryan Reynolds. He found himself nestled behind the top two of Christian Arroyo and Tyler Beede, and just ahead of Ty Blach and Andrew Suárez.
But, you’re surely pointing out, the Giants farm was not as good in 2017 as it is in 2021, and Reynolds wasn’t ranked as a top 100 prospect, whereas Ramos is seen as the No. 61 prospect in baseball, though ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel said of him that “His arm may be his only true plus tool,” which makes you think your excitement is irrational.
Returning to 2017 (the earliest year Fangraphs has in their database), the No. 61 prospect in baseball was ... oh wait a minute, I wrote this part expecting it to be someone you never heard of, and now my entire counterargument is ruined, which means my entire main argument is further supported. How inconveniently convenient.
The No. 61 prospect in baseball four years ago was Aaron Judge.
I was anticipating it being someone like Yohander Méndez, the No. 64 prospect that year. Now my whole article is thrown off, but it’s great, because I’ve obviously proven that your irrational excitement will be rewarded with one (1) Aaron Judge.
Either way, the point stands. The third-best prospect on any given team, and the 61st-best prospect in the sport, is still more likely to have an inconsequential career than reach stardom. Them’s just the odds. And to top it all off, you’re probably having a hard time enjoying Ramos’ hot spring without having your mind briefly link back to this time last year, when Joey Bart was hitting .455/.538/.727 with nice plate discipline and lovely opposite field power.
Don’t let Bart’s ensuing MLB struggles keep you from seeing every spring dinger off the bat of Ramos as predictive of a Judge career arc. He’s hitting 7-18 with 3 home runs and ... hold on, let’s just watch all three of them. They’re majestic.
Those swings should excite you. They should excite you irrationally, because that is entirely rational.
Part of why many people don’t get overly invested in their team’s farm system is because excitement is rarely rewarded. But that’s kind of what makes it fun, right?
After all, if you sat down for a Barry Bonds plate appearance, you only had a 6% chance of seeing a home run. It didn’t keep you from getting excited, because it wasn’t so much the great odds of it happening that excited you, but what it would look like if it did happen.
And that, right now, is the joy of Heliot Ramos, and the reason why your irrational excitement is rational. It’s not about the great odds that he’ll blossom into a star. It’s about how damn fun it would be if he does.
Now let’s watch those home runs again. They just might be the three prettiest swings of the Giants spring.