In the last Rueckel Report installment, I gleefully noted that Baby Ruckles had made the jump to Triple-A for the first time since 2004. Out of sheer laziness, I now report for the first time in three weeks, and guess what? In the interim, he's been flip-flopped back to Double-A Harrisburg.
I can see the reason for the demotion:
G W L ERA IP H HR BB SO
5 1 1 1.50 6.0 3 1 0 5
No, wait a minute---I don't see the reason at all. At any rate, Rueckel was flipped for some guy named Brett Campbell, who had a kickin' WHIP of nearly two at Harrisburg and sports a 13.50 ERA in his first two New Orleans appearances. At the risk of sounding thoroughly obnoxious, I'll now note that Brett Campbell is my least favorite player of all time.
Okay, that did sound obnoxious. I'm sure Brett's a fine, upstanding young man and all.
Anyway, Baby Ruckles is back at Harrisburg, and in two appearances since his return, he's compiled a win and a save. (His line is a cool two innings, no runs, a walk, and three strikeouts.) Currently, his Harrisburg stats read:
G W L ERA SV IP H HR BB SO
22 4 2 2.97 1 39.1 39 2 10 33
* * * *
I noted months ago that Jeffrey Sackman from SBN sister site BrewCrew Ball has developed an incredible database of minor league statistical splits; it's now found at a site called, appropriately enough, MinorLeagueSplits.com. There's no better time than now to give Rueckel's page a whirl.
The left-right split, I believe, shows the value of Rueckel's ability to keep the ball in the yard. Lefties are batting .303 against Baby Ruckles, which isn't altogether encouraging. However, he's surrendered no home runs against lefties (both homers allowed are against righties), and consequently he's yielded only a .379 slugging percentage against lefty batters---which contributes to a manageable .703 OPS against them. (These are all Harrisburg stats, by the way.) By virtue of those two homers (in 39.1 innings overall, a rate of one per 20 innings), righthanded hitters have exploited Rueckel for more isolated power, but they are only hitting .235 against him; thus, their OPS against Rueckel checks in forty points lower.
The most apparent split in Rueckel's ledger is the home-road split. He's been unhittable at home (a Guzmanesque .228/.266/.327 at Harrisburg), but quite vulnerable on the road (.348/.392/.478). In fact, the stranger split might be that he's pitched over twice as many innings at home than on the road. It seems a bad road outing or two is skewing that number.