Keibert Ruiz sizzling in May
Last year at this time I’d never heard of Keibert Ruiz but by the end of the 2016 season he had become a hot prospect and quickly rose in the prospect ranking put out in the winter but didn’t crack any top ten lists.
I bet that changes this summer. The eighteen-year-old catcher is destroying his much older competition in the MidWest League. Ruiz got off to a slow start but is now hitting .472 in his last ten games. In May his TSL is .424 / .458 / 1.004 and overall .320 / .366 / .754.
Keibert struggled in April but struggling Latins in the cold April of the Midwest League is not an uncommon phenomenon. I can still remember the struggles that Carlos Santana had in the early months of the Midwest League. Santana heated up in July that year and never stopped hitting.
No one will confuse Keibert with Carlos even though they were both switch hitting catchers for Great Lakes. Carlos had two calling cards, patience and power but was just learning how to catch (and never quite did). At this time Ruiz has little patience and little power so far, but his receiving skills are already considered top notch. As far as offense goes, Ruiz is only eighteen and does not turn nineteen until July. He is truly a kid playing with men and the fact he kicking the ass of these men in May is something we need to take notice of.
There are six eighteen year old hitters in the MidWest league who qualify for the leader-boards based on plate appearances per game. Two are sons of former major league players, Vlad Junior and Tatis Junior. Vlad is on his own pedestal but he’s a slugging outfielder. Ruiz is a catcher and his calling card was supposed to be his defense with soft hands.
According to FanGraphs, Ruiz’s catching mechanics are near perfect, and some scouts believe that he has the ability to competently handle duties behind the dish at the major league level right now. Dodgers’ management has been impressed with Ruiz to the point that they allowed him to dress for an official Cactus League contest against the Rangers last Thursday.