Dodgers top prospect Keibert Ruiz received high-marks from former MLB GM Jim Bowden this week. With Minor League Baseball opening on May 4th, Bowden compiled a short list of standout prospects for The Athletic. Ruiz and Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman were the only two catchers deemed “must watch”.
Bowden heaped praise on Ruiz’s hitting ability.
“Ruiz is a switch-hitter with line-drive gap power who makes contact and puts the ball in play. He has the special skill of manipulating the barrel to handle any pitch and location.”
Keibert Ruiz Tool Rating
- HIT: 55
- PWR: 45
- RUN: 45
- ARM: 50
- FLD: 55
In 2019, Ruiz played his first 76 games in AA before being promoted to AAA for his final nine games. In the 85 games combined, he hit .261/.331/.347. Not exactly eye-popping, but the switch-hitting catcher did post 30 walks to just 22 strikeouts. Good for a microscopic K-Rate of 6.3%.
For more context, the current top five hitters in the MLB by OBP through Wednesday have a 18.2 average K%. If Ruiz can continue to command the strike zone, he should post a much more impressive slash line this season.
Ruiz appeared in two games for the Dodgers in August of 2020 going 2-8 with a home run and a pair of strikeouts.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 12, 2021
Bowden also noted that Ruiz’s game management and pitch framing is a major point of differentiation from other backstop prospects.
However, it’s his advanced game calling and receiving that separate him from most catching prospects.
The Dodgers seem content for the moment with the Will Smith – Austin Barnes catching tandem. However, it would be a surprise if Ruiz doesn’t get a few cups of coffee with the big club this year.
Teams will certainly come calling for the talented 22-year-old Venezuelan while the Dodgers are shopping at the trade deadline. It’s become an annual tradition.
Ruiz is a must watch project that the Dodgers will keep their eye on.