Esteury Ruiz
20-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
San Diego Padres A+
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Ruiz's Midwest League stats can serve as a crash course in what matters, and what doesn't matter when projecting how a player's Low-A performance will translate. His league-leading 49 steals look nice, but he's not even a 60-grade runner, so banking on more than 20 steals in the majors would be a mistake. Ruiz's .253 average is quite instructive, as he strikes out a lot (28.6 K%) and struggles to use the whole field (26.3 Oppo%), but makes hard contact and gets the ball in the air enough (37.2 GB%) to continue to hit around .250 as he climbs the ladder. His 12 home runs actually undersell his power potential. He has the bat speed and torque to develop into a 25-homer threat in the big leagues. This all adds up to a power/speed second baseman who, barring significant skills growth, won't be a positive contributor in batting average, but will hit enough to get playing time. The Padres will have a middle-infield logjam soon, so a trade would be welcome. Read Past Outlooks
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Swinging hot bat in High-A
2BSan Diego Padres  A+
May 21, 2019
Ruiz went 7-for-18 with two homers, seven RBI and three runs scored for High-A Lake Elsinore last week, Bill Center of Padres.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The 20-year-old is red-hot for the Storm, as he's now 10-for-33 with three homers over his last 10 games. He got off to a slow start at the dish, so his slash line still stands at just .243/.285/.371 through 140 at-bats, but he has continued to show an impressive aptitude on the basepaths with 14 steals in 18 attempts, giving him 102 swipes in 263 career minor-league games. However, the consensus seems to be he doesn't have the raw speed that would allow those totals to translate to the big-league level, so Ruiz will need to hit with more consistency in order to separate himself as a standout prospect in San Diego's system.
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2018 Fantasy Outlook
Ruiz was the talk of AZL backfields last season. He was the Franklin Barreto/Willy Adames piece in a midseason trade between the Royals and Padres -- the true headliner, even though he was a low-level prospect without mainstream name value. The 18-year-old second baseman finished first in the league in batting average (.350), second in SLG (.602) and third in steals (26). In short, Ruiz was the best hitter in the AZL and took home MVP honors. He led the way in extra-base hits (34), with many of his 10 triples falling just short of the fence. Ruiz combined some of the league's best bat speed from the right side with above-average speed on the bases, hinting at a future power/speed fantasy profile. He will eventually offer 25-plus homer pop if he can add strength to his slight 6-foot frame. While not cut from the same cloth in the field (some evaluators think Ruiz's defense is below average), his minor-league numbers and eventual fantasy production could mirror Javier Baez every step of the way.
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Moves up to High-A
2BSan Diego Padres  A+
April 1, 2019
Ruiz will begin the 2019 season at High-A Lake Elsinore, Jeff Sanders of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
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Fourth in Midwest League with 37 steals
2BSan Diego Padres  A+
August 10, 2018
Ruiz is hitting .247/.315/.406 with 11 home runs and 37 steals (on 45 attempts) in 415 plate appearances for Low-A Fort Wayne.
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Traded to Padres
2BSan Diego Padres  A+
July 24, 2017
Ruiz was traded to the Padres by the Royals on Monday along with Matt Strahm and Travis Wood for Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.
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