Keibert Ruiz hit his third home run of the 2022 campaign 396 feet to right field in last night’s game, with Washington’s 23-year-old catcher connecting for the two-run blast two outs after Juan Soto doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
It was just the second home run since May 5th for Ruiz, and, as noted above, his third in 59 games and 242 plate appearances this season, after the switch-hitting backstop hit three in 29 games and 96 plate appearances in the majors between the LA Dodgers and the Nationals last season.
So what does Ruiz need to do to hit for power more often?
“I think he needs to stay behind the ball better and use his legs,” manager Davey Martinez said after last night’s 6-3 loss to the Fish. “And they’re working with him on not jumping out. Like I said, he’s got really good bat-to-ball skills, now we just got to get him to let the ball travel a little bit and let him use his lower-half a little better, and he can do that. So, I know he’s been working on left-handed and right-handed, but it was good to see the ball come off the bat the way it did today from Keibert, so hopefully we can continue to work with that and he gets better.”
Martinez talked to reporters recently about the catcher needing to get his A-swing off more often, rather than just making contact wherever the ball is pitched, which he can do, given his ability to barrel pitches up no matter where they are located.
“it’s funny, because we talk a lot about that in our meetings, and yeah, sometimes he gets caught up in trying to stay to left-center field,” Martinez said.
“For me, when you’re left-handed, for me your best swing is almost staying to right-center field, because, one, you stay on top of the ball a lot better, and two, you’re not trying to hit the ball — sometimes he tries to hit the ball to left field and he gets underneath it, and I tell him all the time, ‘If you think to hit the ball to right-center field, if you’re a little late, your barrel still stays through the zone and you’ll hit it to left-center, so don’t be so conscious of — you know, and a lot of times, it’s based on, ‘Hey, see the ball, and just react to it and hit it.’ Don’t worry about where it goes or whatever, just get your best swing off and see what happens.”
On the year, Ruiz has a .255/.315/.359 line with 14 doubles, the three homers, 18 walks, and 24 strikeouts. And of course since we focused on Ruiz when we did this story last night, Tres Barrera is the one starting today…
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE MATCHUP WITH THE MARLINS: