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Ramos finds early rhythm

The Isotopes’ Roberto Ramos heads around the bases after hitting a homer against Salt Lake on Friday. (Jim Thompson/Journal)

The nickname was born two years ago when he hit 13 home runs for the High-A level Lancaster JetHawks of the California League.

But it sure seems to be tailor-made for tonight’s promotion at Isotopes Park.

As the Albuquerque Isotopes assume their popular alter egos, the Mariachis de Nuevo Mexico for tonight’s game against the Salt Lake Bees, the team now boasts power-hitting first baseman Roberto Ramos, the 24-year-old from Mexico who has affectionately been dubbed the “Mariachi Masher.”

It’s a fitting moniker considering the tear the 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Hermosillo, Mexico, has been on over the past couple days while making his Triple-A debut with the Isotopes.

Ramos was 3-for-3 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored on Friday night as the Isotopes beat the Bees, 7-4, to even the season-opening series at a game apiece in front of an announced crowd of 5,292.

“It’s pretty cool. Yeah, I like it,” Ramos said of the nickname. “Being from Mexico, born and raised, I enjoy walking out to mariachi music. It’s just something that pumps me up when I’m walking up to the plate – a little reminder of where I come from.”

He’s been walking out to mariachi music for years, which is why a radio broadcaster in Lancaster started calling him that in the 2017 season.

But Ramos thinks the tie-in with the Mariachis and Albuquerque is fitting. The Isotopes will have five specially-themed Mariachis games this season after the promotion exploded last year with huge commercial success with merchandise flying off the shelves in Albuquerque and being shipped worldwide from online sales.

“Especially here, the Mariachis, I think fits me well,” Ramos said.

This season, the walk-up song is “Camino Real” by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan.

Based on his fast start, Ramos probably won’t be changing it anytime soon.

He homered in his Triple-A debut Thursday night and over two games is now 4-for-6 with a pair of homers, a double and four RBIs.

Power has always been the potential tool that will lead Ramos to the Major Leagues. The Isotopes’ parent club, the Colorado Rockies, drafted him in the 16th round of the 2014 amateur draft out of the College of the Canyons junior college in Santa Clarita, Calif. Ramos went there after two years of high school in San Fernando, Calif., but he says his home is still in Mexico.

He’s really heated up the past couple seasons, starting with those 13 homers in 2017 in Lancaster. Last season Ramos was named a California League midseason all-star and a Baseball American High-A all-star, hitting a combined 32 home runs and 24 doubles between Lancaster and Double-A Hartford.

Since those numbers are why Ramos got here in the first place, Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said he’s taking a bit of a hands-off approach with the prospect, for now.

“I have this motto that I learned from my doctor in Arizona,” Hill said. “He says, ‘Don’t suffer from things you don’t have.’ … You have to let him be until there’s some real symptoms to be addressed.”

And so far, a whopping two games into a 144-game season, things are going well for Ramos.

“I try to look at it as just baseball,” Ramos said. “No matter the level I’m playing in, it’s just baseball. Trust the work I’ve put in and go out and have fun and give my 100 percent every time I’m on the field.”

He says personal numbers won’t define success for him this season in Albuquerque.

“A championship,” he said when asked what his goal is for the season. “And, of course, going to the big league club and helping to win there. But if I stay here the whole year, or whatever the case and wherever I’m at, my No. 1 goal no matter the level and no matter the team, is to win a championship.”