22-Year-Old Third Baseman – Atlanta Braves
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The 21-year-old third baseman turned in a .657 OPS with five home runs in 489 plate appearances at Double-A last year, so on the surface it would be pretty easy to cut bait, and in leagues where only ...
Ruiz, 21, is batting just .135 over his last 10 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.
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Atlanta Braves Roster
MajorsAybar, Erick (SS)
AAAAlbies, Ozzie (SS)
AAAstudillo, Willians (1B)
A+Bird, Zack (P)
AAcuna, Ronald (OF)
RookieAllard, Kolby (P)
Rio Ruiz: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Ruiz took a step forward in the hitter-friendly California League, hitting .293/.387/.436 with 37 doubles, 11 homers and 77 RBI in 131 games for High-A Lancaster. He drew nearly as many walks (82) as strikeouts (91), improving his walk rate (13.6%) by three percent compared to the year prior. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, the 20-year-old third baseman hasn't displayed much power for a player his size, but he's shown ample range and agility as a defender. Traded to the Braves as part of a blockbuster deal in January, Ruiz is expected to open 2015 at Double-A Mississippi for his new organization.
Ruiz, a fourth-round pick by the Astros in 2012, hit the ball well in his first full minor league season, slashing .260/.335/.430 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI over 114 games for Low-A Quad Cities. The 19-year-old third baseman tallied 50 walks against 92 strikeouts and even contributed 12 steals. Ruiz is several years away making an impact in the majors, with likely stops at High-A and Double-A this season if all goes well at the former. His path to the big leagues may ultimately hinge on whether third base becomes the position of choice for top prospect Carlos Correa, but that issue is one that will be sorted out after it's determined if Ruiz can handle more advanced pitching as he moves through the Houston system.
Part of the reason the Astros had what many believed to be the best draft of anyone last summer was their ability to use the slot money saved on signing Carlos Correa for talent later in the draft. One such signing was Ruiz, who the Astros lured away from USC with a fourth-round pick. Ruiz has drawn comparisons to Eric Chavez, and not just because he is third baseman from Southern California that bats left-handed and throws right. Ruiz has a short stroke with good bat speed and sure hands in the field, all of which should translate as he develops. He battled a life-threatening blood clot as a high school senior, but with the surgery now behind him, nothing stands in the way of his development.