What did Keibert Ruiz accomplish before turning 19 today?
Just about everything you could have asked for.
At age 16 Ruiz played one year in the Dodger Dominican Summer League putting up an OPS of 726
At age 17 Ruiz was brought over to the states to play in the Arizona Summer League but lasted only eight games because he was clearly heads and tails better than the competition. In a very SSS, Ruiz had an OPS of 1.179.
Still 17, Ruiz was promoted to the Pioneer League. For the rest of the summer, Ruiz showed advanced contact skills striking out only 23 times in 206 plate appearances. He put up an OPS of .896. By the end of summer, Ruiz had turned 18 and was now on the prospect map.
Entering his age 18 season, the Dodgers moved Ruiz to the tough Midwest League where many a Dodger prospect has found the league an obstacle to success. Ruiz originally faltered putting up an OPS of just .568 in April. He also struck out 13 times in just 64 plate appearances in April. He was pulling a Carlos Santana, but just like Carlos Santana as the weather warmed in Michigan so did his bat. In May he improved his OPS to .824 and reduced his strikeouts to only ten in 90 plate appearances. Ruiz was just getting warmed up. In June Ruiz had a robust .926 OPS. The real key is his plate discipline and power. In June Ruiz struck out only four times with ten walks in seventy plate appearances. While the older 2016 number one pick Gavin Lux was still trying to figure out the Midwest league, Keibert Ruiz had mastered it so there was only one thing left to do.
The Dodgers promoted the 18-year-old catcher to the California League. Ruiz was now being asked to handle the most promising pitchers in the Dodger system. Yadier Alveraz, Dennis Santana, Caleb Ferguson. Would he be up to the task? His bat has been. Since joining Rancho, Ruiz has been the toast of the town with his bat leading the way. It has only been six games, but he has been on base in every game. How is he handling the pitching staff? I don’t know yet but the scouting reports on his catching game say he’s advanced with the only negative being an average throwing arm.
Keibert is a switch-hitter and in 2017 is showing a disturbing split when hitting right handed against left handed pitching. In 2016 that split was not as large but in 2017 it is a chasm of almost four hundred OPS points. I’ve always found switch-hitters who can’t hit a lick from one side of the plate to be useless as a switch hitter. At just 19, he has plenty of time at the minor league level to find out if he can hit left hand pitching. He has
He has alot on his plate. Trying to learn to hit from both sides of the plate, managing a rotation loaded with legitimate major league prospects, continuing to learn the nuances of the most demanding position in baseball, and making the adjustments on the fly as his body continues to mature into a man.
Keibert has one more year as a teen-ager, what will he accomplish in the next year?
The sky might be the limit.