Keibert Ruiz is moving up
My favorite prospect just got promoted from the MWL Loons to the California League Rancho Cucamonga Quakes making him the youngest player in the league.
These things happen all the time in minor league ball. Will Smith, the number one pick last year was promoted from Rancho to AA Tulsa which left me wondering who was going to be the primary catcher for Rancho going forward.
18=year-old Keibert Ruiz is who.
Why is this a big deal?
Can you tell me the last time an 18-year-old position prospect was playing for Rancho? Alex Verdugo had already turned 19 by the time he joined Rancho in late summer of 2015. Cody Bellinger was 19 when he started and 20 when he ended. Corey Seager might be the closest comp as he was 18 when he started the year with the Loons and turned 19 while with Rancho just as Keibert will be doing but Seager turned 19 in April while Ruiz won’t turn 19 until later this month. Seager also didn’t join the Quakes until Aug 3rd.
At only 18 it is hard to tell what kind of hitting tool that Ruiz will have but he has already shown nice contact skills to go with his growing patience. This Dodger front office has not been shy about pushing the elite prospects, and with Keibert headed to Rancho, I think we can safely add Keibert to the list.
What can Rancho Cucamonga Quakes fans look forward to with the young catcher in the lineup? First, he can hit and is a contact hitter not prone to striking out. Contact and driving the ball are his trademarks as a hitter. As a testament to his consistency, he hit safely in 33 of his last 40 games with the Loons. Power, at this point, is perhaps in short supply for Ruiz but MLB.com feels it will be more than adequate as his hitting skills continue to improve and he fills out his 6’0” frame.
MLB.com concludes: “Ruiz shows more pop from the left side and a more contact-oriented approach from the right side. He has precocious feel to hit and makes consistent contact rather than trying to do too much. As he gets stronger, he could develop double-digit home run power.”
Behind the plate is where the young catcher really stands out. He displays great footwork and has no real flaws defensively, which is extremely impressive for an 18-year old catcher. The one thing that Ruiz still needs to improve upon is his arm, which grades about average right now. However, at only 18, there is plenty of time for Ruiz to work on his arm strength. His speed is catcher ranked speed.