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2019 Dodgers Review: Keibert Ruiz

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Young catching prospect had a rough 2019 season

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Cleveland Indians Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Keibert Ruiz came into the season as one of the top prospects in the system. A mediocre season and injury made for a bit of a rough go in 2019.

What went right

Not a lot went right for Ruiz this season. He was added to the 40-man roster last December to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, but he never made his way the to the majors in 2019. His best full month of the season came in May, when he hit .303/.411/.355. A lack of power has always been a concern for Ruiz, but he showed great strike zone judgment by walking 12 times against just four strikeouts. A late-season promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City looked good for him (.316/.350/.474), but the extremely hitter-friendly hitting environment, coupled with the juiced ball in Triple-A, could explain the power spike more than adjustments Ruiz made.

What went wrong

The power never came for Ruiz. He hit just six home runs and nine doubles in 350 plate appearances. His .261 batting average and .331 on-base percentage is fine for a catcher, but there should be more power in his 6-foot, 200-pound frame. A broken finger in early August ended his season early. He probably wouldn’t have received a promotion to the Dodgers’ active roster for September, but the injury ended all hope of that. Luckily, the injury was not serious.

2019 particulars

Age: 21

Stats: .261/.331/.347, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 39 R, N/A OPS+, N/A WAR

Salary: Prorated league minimum ($45,300, per Cot’s)

Game of the Year

Ruiz’s first game as a member of the OKC Dodgers on July 21 was probably his best of his best of the season. He went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs hitting second for OKC. For good measure, I’m including his three-run home run in an April 20 game with Tulsa because, well, there’s no video highlight of his home run with OKC.

Roster status

He didn’t log any MLB service time, so he’s not arbitration-eligible until 2024 and won’t be a free agent until 2027. However, he could be a hot name on the trade market this winter.