You have heard the names all spring: Betts, Cecchini, Marrero, Shaw, Coyle “¦ along with Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. So many prospects.
So many infielders, although Mookie Betts is getting a look in center.
But aren’t there any natural outfielders developing in the touted Boston Red Sox system?
Back in Portland, the Sea Dogs appear to be grooming one. Henry Ramos, 22, is figuring things out in Double-A.
Ramos is hitting .333 with two home runs, two triples and nine doubles.
A .258 hitter in his four previous pro seasons, Ramos is starting to harness the talent that Boston projected when it drafted him in the fifth round in 2010, behind Sean Coyle (third round) and Garin Cecchini (fourth).
Ramos, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, may grow into a power hitter. He also is growing up, as so many young players do.
“I think one of the things we can say about Henry is that he is doing a much better job of controlling his emotions and controlling his effort level,” said Sea Dogs Manager Billy McMillon, who managed Ramos in Salem last year and Greenville in 2011.
“When those get elevated, he lacks consistency. He’s doing a good job of controlling both.”
Ramos, from Maunabo, Puerto Rico, showed maturity early when he dealt with a slow start. In the April cold of Portland, Ramos batted .210 with one double.
Since then he’s hitting .368 with power.
“Thank God I’m having this season so far,” Ramos said with the help of an interpreter, shortstop Deven Marrero. “Just focusing on my work ethic.”
The work ethic is producing results.
“I don’t look at the numbers,” Ramos said. “Just work hard.”
That effort included working on his emotions.
“Trying to stay even keel all the time,” he said. “Before, I got really high or really low.”
While Marrero was interpreting, he was also nodding his head.
“He has shown that (control) a lot,” said Marrero, who was in Salem most of last year. “He’s very even, even when things aren’t going his way.”
If Ramos can continue his consistency, the Red Sox may have themselves a future right fielder.
He showcases a strong arm in the field and the potential for more power.
“He said earlier this month that he hadn’t hit any home runs. Then he hit two in a game (May 7),” hitting coach Rich Gedman said. “It will come.”
Again, consistency will be the key. The Sea Dogs have had outfield prospects before, players who were promoted before Jackie Bradley Jr. and are still in Pawtucket.
Alex Hassan, 26, batted .291 with a .404 on-base percentage for Portland in 2011. He is in his second year on Boston’s 40-man roster. Injuries have slowed him the past two years. This season he’s struggling with a .219 average.
Bryce Brentz, 25, hit .296 with 17 home runs for the Sea Dogs in 2012, moving to Pawtucket at the end of the year. He too has battled injuries, although he hit 17 home runs in only 82 games last season in Triple-A.
This year, Brentz’s first on the 40-man roster, he’s batting .230 with six home runs. Brentz went on the disabled list last week with a hamstring injury.
The top outfield prospect in the Red Sox system may be Manuel Margot, 19, of the Dominican Republic. Already playing in Greenville, Margot is coming along slowly, hitting .253 with four home runs.
Meanwhile, Ramos is looking to have the breakout year.
Time will tell. For now he has things under control.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: ClearTheBases