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MLB draft pick takes up post as WC shortstop

With every swing of the bat, every play on defense, Yaniel Ramos is thinking of his grandmother. She’s still watching from the best seat anywhere, he believes.

Yaniel Ramos - WC baseball“I started playing when I was 4 years old, and my grandmother always went to my games and took me to my practice,” Ramos said. “Then later, when I was late in my seventh year my grandmother passed away at a party that we were at together. I will never forget that day. My grandmother was very special for me.

“Since that day my goal has being become a professional player for her because I know that was also her dream to see me playing. All I do is think that one day I will fulfill that dream.”

Ramos is a freshman shortstop on the Weatherford College Coyotes. He’s from Carolina, Puerto Rico. In his senior season of high school, he attended the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy.

“It did help me because we practiced everyday there,” he said. “Usually in Puerto Rico you only practice two days in a week.”
Also, his father and grandfather played baseball and are currently major league scouts, he said.

“My grandfather played for the Boston Red Sox in the minors up to Triple-A,” Ramos said. “My dad played in college with a baseball scholarship. So I can say that we are a baseball family.”

Ramos has his own success to add to the family history. In addition to being a solid player for the Coyotes (.301 batting average, two home runs), in high school he was selected to play in the Excellence Games, the top baseball showcase tournament in Puerto Rico for prospects, and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.

“Yaniel is a very good player with a passion to play the game. He has a defensive skill set that you don’t find with many players from the states,” Coyotes Head Coach Jeff Lightfoot said. “Yaniel has a chance to be special as he gets more familiar with our level and gets stronger.”

He was also an MVP for his volleyball team and led them to a championship in a prestigious invitational tournament in Texas. But baseball has always been his first love, and he loves playing shortstop.

“I have always played shortstop,” he said. “I like it because it’s a captain position and you have to always be in the game. People rely a lot on the shortstop. It’s like being a manager inside the lines but helping the team to win. The catcher and center field are another two positions I see it like that.”

Ramos said he was attracted to Weatherford College because of its history of success (the Coyotes came within one win of a world series berth last season) and the weather, which reminds him of his home country. And while he does want to play at a higher level of college, and definitely as a professional, his focus at the moment is on this season, he said.

He admits there was an adjustment coming to play here after playing in Puerto Rico. Lightfoot said it’s always good for players to see different cultures.

“Players from other cultures always bring a unique dynamic to the clubhouse,” Lightfoot said.

“The game here is faster,” he said. “Of course this has been a year of adjustment in everything.”

And he has no specific hero but rather lots of heroes.

“For me all the players are heroes with all the things they have to put aside, growing up to fulfill their dreams,” he said. “I just hope that I can open doors for more Puerto Ricans to come and attend Weatherford College and play for the baseball team.”

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by Rick Mauch