The Dodgers completed a clean sweep of the Angels on Sunday afternoon with an 8-3 victory over the Halos in Anaheim. The game was particularly noteworthy for the MLB debut of 22-year old catching prospect Keibert Ruiz, who had been called up from the player pool after Will Smith was placed on the injured list. Ruiz impressed the Dodger faithful by smacking a home run in his first career big league at-bat. The last Dodger that I can remember doing that (homering in his first AB) was Jose Offerman back in 1990. I guess I’m getting pretty old.
The Dodger’s catching situation has always interested me. The boys in blue could use a catcher that can hit. Unfortunately they haven’t had one since Yasmani Grandal left town. Smith has been largely unimpressive, slashing .188/.341/.406 through 41 plate appearances this season. While he put together a strong campaign in 2019 across just 54 games, he petered out during the last several weeks of the season and was not heard or seen from again. Despite his recent little hot streak, Austin Barnes couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.
Enter Keibert Ruiz. The young Venezuelan switch-hitting backstop was signed back in 2014 (Ned Colletti/Logan White acquisition) and has spent the last five years in the Dodger’s minor league system putting up good but not great numbers. If Ruiz becomes an important part of the Dodger’s roster that would be a huge boon for an already potent lineup.
The Dodgers are not getting any production from the catcher position right now. I don’t expect my catcher to hit like Mike Piazza, all I expect is for him is to hit at least below average while handling the pitching staff. Preventing runs and handling the pitching staff is most important for a catcher, but they still can’t be an automatic out. All I ask is for below average production which Smith and Barnes cannot do. I’m rooting for this kid to make it. It’s the best possible scenario for the Dodger’s catching situation. Welcome to the bigs Keibert!