What to expect from Keibert Ruiz at Nationals?

It was not easy to part with Trea Turner and Max Scherzer on the day the deadline to make changes expired, but to receive back two of the top 100 prospects in all of baseball, Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, as part of the four-pack. players made it all make sense for the Nationals. In Washington, they see Ruiz and Gray as part of the foundation on which the team can be built. On Monday, they had the opportunity to see both in action.

While Gray immediately replaced Scherzer in the Nationals’ rotation, Ruiz switched teams at Triple-A, moving from Oklahoma City to Rochester, after moving from one organization to another. After the mask hit home runs in consecutive games last week in the minor league, Washington promoted him to the majors on Monday and the youngster was placed behind the plate to drum with Gray against the Phillies. In the game, Ruiz went 4-1 with a balloon single.

Regarded as one of the majors’ top catching prospects and ranked No. 19 in the MLB Pipeline Top 100, Ruiz signed for $ 140,000 with the Dodgers on his 16th birthday in 2014. He hit .374 / .412 / .527 between two rookie leagues in his United States debut two years later. He then ranked third among all minor league catchers in hitting (.316) when he played in his first league full season in 2017, moving up to Class-A high before he turned 19.

Ruiz slowed down at Double-A in 2018 and 2019, while Will Smith surpassed him through the Los Angeles ranks. Much of what he improved last year was accomplished at the Dodgers’ alternate team headquarters, where he focused on doing a better job of incorporating his lower body into his swing and swinging better for more. extra bases. Ruiz made his debut for the Dodgers in 2020, hitting a home run off Colombian Julio Tehran on his first visit to the plate, but running out just eight at-bats in total.

Ruiz dumped her against Kyle Hendricks during a brief call of just seven at-bats this year with Los Angeles, but has spent most of 2021 at Triple-A. He has posted career-best numbers in his 22-year season, hitting .310 / .377 / .616 with 21 home runs in 72 games.

With impressive bat control and a well-disciplined attack plan, Ruiz has established himself as one of the best contact hitters in the minors, where he has a lifetime .301 / .356 / .453 strikeout rate of just 10%. A hitter with both hands, he generates more power from the left side, hitting 49 of his 52 home runs in professional baseball to the left.

Ruiz also has the tools to be a solid defender. He’s agile, has soft hands and the ability to frame pitches well. In addition, he has shown consistency receiving in 2021. Although his arm strength is considered above average, the transfer of the ball from the mascot to the hand and the accuracy of his shots still need work. This year, he has withdrawn only 20% of the runners who have come out to steal.

Only one receiver for the Nationals has gone to the All-Star Game during the franchise’s 17 seasons in Washington – Wilson Ramos of Venezuela in 2016 – and Ruiz has the tools to become the club’s best mask since the team left Montreal at the middle of the first decade of the present millennium. He should be able to produce immediately with the bat while continuing to polish his defense.