The Dodgers have plenty of prospects that draw our attention, so it’s easy to overlook an 18-year old catcher who hasn’t played above Rookie Ball. However Keibert Ruiz, signed out of Venzuela, deserves our attention.
He got 222 AB last season, split between two levels of Rookie Ball, hitting .374 in the process. While maintaining that type of mark isn’t feasible, his ability to make consistent contact, at his age, is noteworthy:
- Arizona League – 11.2%
- Pioneer League – 10.3%
There is a question regarding his power and if he will develop any after hitting just 2 HR last season. He did add 22 doubles and 3 triples, and he obviously has plenty of time to continue developing physically (he’s listed at 6’0″ and 165 lbs.). Time will tell, but if he can continue to show his strong approach all he will need is to develop into a 10-14 HR type hitter. Especially as a switch-hitter, the value would be there.
MLB.com recently gave a good report on his approach and his power, indicating that there was the potential for him to reach that type of mark:
“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.”
He should get an opportunity thanks to his defense, which is said to be good already (outside of his arm). As per John Sickels:
“threw out just 20% of runners and arm is just so-so but defense is otherwise extremely good, very reliable and mobile, strong leadership ability”
Obviously he has plenty of time and the Dodgers will have to be patient. This season will be telling towards his development, but even a step back shouldn’t be a significant concern. Keep a close eye on him, as he has the potential to fly up prospect rankings with another strong campaign.
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Minor League Ball
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Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: