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Where Does Darin Ruf Fit Into The Dodger Roster?

Darin Ruf

On November 11 the Dodgers flipped veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for minor leaguer Darnell Sweeney (who was a former Dodger farmhand), and right handed hitting outfielder/infielder Darin Ruf. Now that the Dodgers have acquired Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays to be the everyday second baseman, we can start to look at who will be filling out the rest of the position player roster. The question I have been wondering is this….Where does Darin Ruf fit into the Dodger’s roster?

Where does Ruf fit into the Dodger’s 2017 plans? What is Ruf’s role going to be with the Dodgers? Will he be the fourth outfielder? Will he be a Backup first baseman? How about an occasional pinch-hitter? Perhaps a Southpaw masher, or Bench warmer? Hot dog vender? Ladodgerreport staff writer?

Ok he’s probably not going to be an Ladodgerreport staff writer, but fourth outfielder and backup first baseman or lefty masher off the bench is very possible for the 30-year old. Ruf is entering his sixth MLB season and has never put up extraordinary numbers. Actually he’s never put up good numbers. Over the last two seasons he’s been particularly dreadful. Over 297 plate appearances in 2015 he batted just .235 with a .714 OPS and hit 12 home runs while playing in 106 games. That year he suffered from an oblique injury and fractured his left wrist sliding into a wall trying to make a catch in left field. In 2016 he played in just 43 games and spent most of the season at triple-A Lehigh Valley. Last season he batted .205 and hit only 3 home runs. He had more strikeouts (25) than hits (17).

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Overall Ruf has a career .240/.314/.433 slash line with a .747 OPS in 838 MLB plate appearances. He’s hit 35 home runs and has posted an OPS above .800 only once during his five MLB seasons. Injuries have definitely seemed to derail his career. There is one thing he does well, and that’s hit left handed pitching.

As a matter of fact he’s been fantastic versus southpaws throughout his career. Check out his numbers versus lefties.

Career vs. left handers – .299/.379/.542 (81 for 271) .921 OPS 17 home runs

2016 vs. left handers – .286/.267/.429 (8 for 28) 1 .695 OPS 1 home run

He’s performed so well against left handers but has had serious problems against right handers. He’s batting just .206 against right handed pitching, and hit just .164 (9 for 55) last year versus righties. You would think that with his success against the southpaws he would be best utilized as a right handed pinch-hitter off the bench in the late innings.

His defensive metrics rate him as a below average defender at the corner outfield spots and at first base. Ruf has played 79 games in left field, 29 games in right field, and 139 games at first base. His range is limited and he’s cost his teams 10 defensive runs in the outfield. Another interesting thing to consider is his poor numbers with runners in scoring position. He has a career .183 mark with runners in scoring position. If the Dodgers are going to keep Ruf on the 25-man roster in 2017, it would seem his primary skills lie as a late-inning pinch-hitter to face left handed pitching. That’s probably the only reason the Dodgers wanted him. We all know how much the Dodgers need southpaw killers anyways.

And if this baseball thing doesn’t work out for Ruf, he could always come over here and churn out a few articles while he figures out what his next move is. We would welcome him with open arms. For the record, I think he’ll do just fine with baseball.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

57 thoughts on “Where Does Darin Ruf Fit Into The Dodger Roster?

    1. He’s depth. Deep depth. But it f the team gets hit by injuries at first, he can platoon the team into something.

      It’s like catastrophic insurance.

      About as much value as the weak grounder to 2nd that Kendrick became synonymous with.

  1. I don’t know for sure that this is true, but I heard on the MLB Show, that he hasn’t been good against lefties, in the last couple of years.

      1. Jonah

        I guess you can’t fight them, so you just went with your new name.

        I agree with what Rick said.

        I don’t see him on the major league team.

        It is a really slow day, and night for news, except for one place, predictively.

        I just hope spring training gets here, I am tired of this cold weather.

        And like you say Jonah, there isn’t much baseball news, to talk about.

        Did you ever ask Scott about your new name?

        He had a problem with this site, right after he put it up, earlier.

  2. Ruf is fodder for AAA. If he sticks with the Dodgers something is horribly wrong.

    Look at it: they have: Puig, Pederson, Ethier, Thompson, Toles, Van Slyke and Kike Hernandez to play OF – they have Adrian Gonzalez and Van Slyke to play 1B. As it is, they can’t all make the opening day 25 man roster – they have too many. No way Ruf beats any of them out.

    Don’t compare him to Van Slyke – Ruf is a slogger – he’s huge and can’t play defense anywhere.

    Remember – he was supposed to replace Ryan Howard in Philly and couldn’t do it – and Howard hit .223, .229 and .196 the last 3 seasons and led the league in SO with 190 (!) in 2014! Ruf was so bad that he mostly played in AAA last year!

    1. Personally, I do not think Hernandez should be listed as an OF. The guy is very mediocre out there. He always played better when he was playing the infield. As for Ruf, the guy has power and that is about it. I see no way he even makes this team. Hernandez is borderline to make the team because of the numbers crunch. They will no doubt carry 5 outfielders. That would be Ethier, Puig , Pederson, Thompson, ( if his back permits) and Toles. 2 catchers, Grandal and Barnes, who can also fill in at 3nd base and 6 infielders if they decide to go with a 12 man pitching staff, which with the starters they have, outside of CK, will be a necessity. The infielders will most likely be Gonzo, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, with 2 multi position guys on the bench…SVS maybe, or Culberson, Taylor. Calhoun will probably be at AAA. Then there is the Cuban import Fernandez who will most likely be given a chance to make the team. Who knows, there might be a real sleeper out there somewhere. I think there might even be a trade or two to thin out the outfield…oh yeah that slug they just picked up from the A’s is on the 40 man, so he will be getting a shot too. Too many OF’s on the roster as it is.

    2. a life time Phils phan. Watched the way Ruf was handled so poorly by Ruben Amaro when he was GM. Ruf is a class
      act at 1st base. in AAA only playing two
      thirds of the season he led the team in BA slugging. Homers. and RBIs. Most of
      his Abs for the Phils were as a PH against
      the other teams closer. A Hall of Famer
      Mike Schmidt said all Ruf ever needed
      was a chance. Dont pass judgement.

  3. There isn’t room for both Ruf and SVS on the active roster. If SVS has another one of his injuries it gives Ruf a chance. A slim chance but a chance. He’s basically insurance just in case SVS and Thompson both break down again.

    1. They picked up some OF from the A’s who is on the roster too. Trading for Reddick should have cured FAZ of trading with the A’s.

    1. Michael

      Eibner played at the university of Arkansas, just like Logan did.

      I wonder if there is a connection there.

      The best thing that the A’s said about Eibner, is that he has nice hair.

      The first year Kike played in the outfield he was good, especially when he was playing in center regularly, when he had to fill in for Joc, because Joc wasn’t hitting.

      He will probably make the team, because he plays both the infield, and the outfield, because that saves some roster space, a little.

      But Kike isn’t going to get unlimited chances, like he did last year, he is going to have to hit, or he will be in AAA.

      I think the other two guys, play better at second, and in the infield, then Kike does.

      This Saturday is the Dodger’s fan day, so we are right around the corner.

  4. The Dodgers right now have 8 outfielders on the roster and I totally forgot about Rob Segedin, who can also play the outfield.

  5. Speaking of Sweeney, I wonder what the arrangements are for Kendrick’s contract. It was for 2 years, $10MM each year. But only $5MM paid last year. I think it’s Phillie pays $5MM this year but who pays the remaining $10MM in the following two years? If Philadelphia gets Kendrick for 1 year, $5MM and all we get is Sweeney and stuck for the deferred $10MM, then once again FAZ has shown himself to be one of the dumbest executives in baseball…

        1. Jonah

          I know, that was the point.

          But like you have said before, there is not much to talk about.

          I was just teasing you.

    1. You’re reaching bigly now!!

      Dodgers pay his 2016 salary, $5M in 2016 and $5M in 2018. Phils pay his 2017 salary, $5M in 2017 and $5M in 2019. Even though the total salary is paid over four years at $5M/yr. Kendrick counted as $10M in 2016 for luxury tax purposes.

      1. It was a question or speculation, if you prefer. I indicated my uncertainty on the details and the judgement was conditional as indicated by the word “if”. What, are you the court jester?

          1. Jonah had been in the liquor business for 25 years. Finally, sick of the stress, he quits his job and buys 50 acres of land in Alaska, as far from humanity as possible

            He sees the postman once a week and gets groceries once a month. Otherwise it’s total peace and quiet.

            After six months or so of almost total isolation, someone knocks on his door. He opens it, and a huge, bearded man is standing there.

            “Name’s Lars, your neighbor from forty miles up the road. Having a party Friday night, thought you might like to come. About 5:00.”

            “Great”, says Jonah, “after six months out here I’m ready to meet some local folks. Thank you.”

            As Lars is leaving, he stops. “Gotta warn you … be some drinkin.”

            “Not a problem” says Jonah. “After 25 years in the business, I can drink with the best of ’em.”

            Again, the big man starts to leave and stops. “More ‘n’ likely gonna be some fightin’ too.”

            “Well, I get along with people, I’ll be all right. I’ll be there, thanks again.”

            “More’n likely be some wild sex, too.”

            “Now that’s really not a problem,” says Jonah, warming to the idea. “I’ve been all alone for six months! I’ll definitely be there. By the way, what should I wear?”

            “Don’t much matter … just gonna be the two of us.”

  6. 2500 years ago a man far wiser than any of us once said ” Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”.

      1. Very wise.

        Here’s my own personal one…forever attributable to me via this post: “Those that yell the most know the least.”

        Remind you of anyone blog-wise?

        1. Another way of putting it Artie –

          “He who establishes his argument by insult and noise shows that his reason is weak”

          We appear to be stuck between situational ethics and what could be argued as is willful stupidity. The discussion has moved to a site controlled by the loudest, and the lewdest.

          For me being right isn’t as important as knowing when to shut up.

          1. MJ: “It does take time, you know. And it is still early.”

            You’re going to have to do alot better than that MJ!! Try groveling, after all, you were over the top “uppity”, thinking and acting on your own. How could you visit “a site controlled by the loudest, and the lewdest”? Try admitting, You’re “stuck between situational ethics and what could be argued as willful stupidity”. Hell, you might even be at Donald Trump’s level in the eyes of massa badger!!

            No, like I said in a previous thread, this time it’s going to take you multiple, “Forgive me massa, cum back, don’t hurt ol’ MJ no more, I’ll pick dah cotton!”

            OK, I have said enough, “for me being right isn’t as important as knowing when to shut up”!! LOL

    1. I really don’t think anyone is going to stop talking because you want them to stop, they probably weren’t talking to you anyhow.

        1. I know what I’m talking about, and I’m talking about Dodgers Baseball. Let’s not shut up about that. The rest of the crap save for the mirror. That’s where you’ll find the problem.

    1. Rick

      I read another article in the LA Times, and the writer said that the Dodgers would have had to trade Bellinger
      to get Dozier, so this is a much better trade, I believe.

      We will have to wait down the line, to see how JDL develops, at the major league level.

  7. Here is some more non-essential info:
    Dodgers have signed LHH 1B .239 Lifetime batter Ike Davis to a minor league contract. Why? Because they can.

    1. Adrian isn’t going to play 9 innings of any spring training games and he’s going to be gone for the WBC for a period of time. Throw in splits squads and you have your answer.

      1. Hawkeye

        You always make sense.

        I just told Rick above, that a writer for the LA Times, said that the Dodgers, would have had to trade Bellinger, to get Dozier,

        1. There’s a lot of speculation going on. They asked for Bellinger and then Alvarez to go with Dozier. There has been mixed reports on whether Stewart was or wasn’t offered, but Alex Wood was definitely added to the deal and when the Twins didn’t want him the Dodgers were going to send Wood to Seattle for a prospect with more years of control and then ship him to the Twins with JDL.

          1. Hawkeye

            I thought since this was an LA Times writer, he might know more, then some of the other writers, around the country.

            And he said that is what it would have taken.

          2. It seemed speculatory to me. Between Dustin Nosler and Chris Camello’ sources you can piece it together somewhat. Everybody who talks to the Dodgers is going to start with Bellinger.

          3. MJ,

            Can you post a link to that?

            Was it a negotiating step or a “take it or leave it” proclamation?

            Wait, was it this:


            “The Dodgers haggled with Minnesota over Dozier since baseball’s winter meetings in early December. The Twins sought a package that included De Leon and an additional high-level prospect. The Dodgers lacked interest in parting with assets such as first baseman Cody Bellinger, outfielder Alex Verdugo or pitcher Yadier Alvarez. When the discussions petered out, the Dodgers pivoted to Tampa Bay.”

        2. MJ,

          Can you post a link to that?

          Was it a negotiating step or a “take it or leave it” proclamation?

          Wait, was it this:

          “The Dodgers haggled with Minnesota over Dozier since baseball’s winter meetings in early December. The Twins sought a package that included De Leon and an additional high-level prospect. The Dodgers lacked interest in parting with assets such as first baseman Cody Bellinger, outfielder Alex Verdugo or pitcher Yadier Alvarez. When the discussions petered out, the Dodgers pivoted to Tampa Bay.”

      2. So this guy was brought in just to field a 9 man squad in a spring training game?

        Wow I don’t even think fodder accurately describes that situation!

        1. Hawkeye

          I know we started knowing about this Chris Carmello, because he knew ahead of others, that Kenley and Turner signed.

          But who is this guy?

        2. Bluto

          It was in the LA Times yesterday, under the title of Dugout , by a writer, named Houston.

          I don’t know how to transfer these things, on my iPhone.

          I know the square with the arrow does it, but I am not sure, about the rest.

  8. Funny how Eibner and Ike Davis provoke such reactions on this board. Who cares. Nobody is asking those guys to bat 3rd for the entire season! It’s not changing a damn thing for this 24 man roster

    I’m sure when we signed some failure named Justin Turner 4 years ago people flipped out as well mocking our front office for such a stupid move.

    1. Exactly Bobby! Organizational depth is a good thing!!! Turner is a good example. For the older people on this board anybody remember “Sweet Lou Johnson”?

      Lou Johnson was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1953. After moving around from team to team in the minor leagues for about a decade, he finally played in 61 games for the 1962 Milwaukee Braves. However, after that, the Braves traded Johnson to the Detroit Tigers system, which sent him back to the minor leagues for the 1963 and ’64 seasons. They then traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      Johnson made it to the major leagues to stay for a stretch beginning in 1965 with the Dodgers when a broken ankle in early May sidelined Tommy Davis, their regular left fielder, for the remainder of the season. Johnson filled in for Davis, playing in 130 games for the Dodgers that season, scoring 57 runs and batting .260 with 58 runs batted in. In that season, Johnson also scored the only run in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game victory when he walked, went to second base on a sacrifice bunt, stole third base, and then scored on a throwing error by the Chicago Cubs catcher, Chris Krug. The Dodgers made it to the 1965 World Series versus the Minnesota Twins, and in this Series, Johnson had eight hits, including two home runs, the second one being the game-winning one in the decisive seventh game.

      I have fond memories of “Sweet Lou” after one of my favorite players, Tommy Davis went down. He was a Godsend.

      Depth People!!!

      1. Boxout

        I don’t think anyone is taking this serously, but I could be wrong.

        And that was the main subject manner, on this last thought.

    2. Bobby

      I don’t know about everyone else, but I was just having some fun.

      I am not afraid of either first basemen, being on the major league team.

    3. Bobby

      I saw that you questioned why Calhoun, wasn’t on Keith Law’s 100 prospect list.

      And they told you, it was because of his defense.

      That is kind of funny, because Law had Kyle Schwarber on his 2015 100 prospect list, and he is not a very good defensive player.

      Law said he needed to stay at catcher, and Schwarber isn’t going to catch.

      But he said that Schwarber’ bat, was good enough, to make up for his defense, in left field.

      I knew that Law being from ESPN, was not much of a Dodger supporter, so I looked it up.

      So I don’t agree with what they are saying, because I have seen Schwarber play in the outfield.

      Guerrero who only played in the outfield eight times in AAA, played leftfield, better then Schwarber does.

      1. MJ,

        I think the issue and difference is that when you project Calhoun in left his bat doesn’t provide as much value. He’s not the hitter Schwarber is.

        I could be wrong.

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