Washington Nationals’ catcher Keibert Ruiz was just 4 for 33 (.121/.194/.152) over his first 10 games (eight starts) and 36 plate appearances after he was called up to the majors back in late July, but the 23-year-old backstop is heating up at the plate, and over the last five he is 11 for 21 (.524/.545/.571), with multi-hit games in four of the five.
“He’s another young kid, that his bat to ball skills are really, really impressive,” Nats’ manager Davey Martinez said before Ruiz went 2 for 5 with a run scored in last night’s 7-1 win over the Marlins in Miami.
“He swings the bat, he doesn’t hardly miss any balls, he fouls balls off, he fouls some tough pitches off, but he’s putting the ball in play, and that’s awesome. So, he made a little bit of adjustment, he’s staying back a little bit better, he’s a little more upright from the top half, and it seems to be working out, so he’s doing well.”
The fact that Ruiz has been producing at the plate should not be surprising, considering he hit on the way up with the Los Angeles Dodgers after signing for $140K with LA in 2014.
Ruiz put up a combined .310/.377/.616 line with 24 doubles, 21 home runs, 30 walks, and 33 Ks in 72 games played between Triple-A in the Dodgers and Nationals’ systems, and though the power numbers aren’t there early in his time in the majors with Washington, he’s shown signs of being the sort of hitter the Nationals expected him to be when they acquired him in the deadline deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers.
“I’ve been working with Kevin Long, the hitting coach here, just trying to not do too much,” Ruiz said when asked about his recent run of success at the plate.
“Get my plan, hit my pitch, and ... I just want to keep working, keep getting better, and don’t worry about the results.”
While he’s not focused on or worried about the results, Ruiz acknowledged that it’s nice to see the hard work with K-Long paying off.
“That’s great, I’m getting the results, the RBIs, I’m helping the team win, but I mean, it’s everybody, everybody is playing good, the defense, the offense, but like I said, I’m not trying to worry too much about the results, I’m just trying to get my pitch to hit and be focused on every at bat.”
With three-hit games in three of the last five, and a two-hit game last night, the switch-hitting catcher is building some momentum too, which always helps.
“Yeah, it’s very important, especially at this time of the year,” Ruiz said. “I want to finish strong. I want to keep getting better. Keep working hard, and just keep working hard at every at bat, be focused, and hopefully I can have some more results.”
Ruiz is getting a night off tonight in the finale with the Marlins in Miami, with Alex Avila catching Josiah Gray...